Affidavit: Homeless man threatens former boss with knife

A homeless man was arrested after he got into a physical fight with his former boss and threatened him with a knife.

Bernie Mel Benavides, 50, was charged with second-degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

According to an arrest affidavit, Austin police officers were called to a disturbance hotshot call at the Barton Springs Car Wash around 3:14 p.m. on Feb. 15, where the manager and an ex-employee with a knife were reportedly in a fight.

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When officers arrived, both men had separated and the ex-employee, identified in the affidavit as Benavides, was handcuffed and frisked for weapons. Benavides had a slightly bleeding cut on his lower lip but refused medical attention. He said he had an argument with his former manager and had come to the car wash to retrieve his ID and Social Security card. He told officers he did not have a knife and was assaulted from behind by his manager.

Officers interviewed the manager, who had redness and bruising on his face and appeared shaken up. He said he had fired Benavides because he had repeatedly not been following directions. Benavides had shown up for work numerous times since then and each time the manager threatened to call the police if he didn't leave.


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Benavides came to the car wash that morning and got into an argument with the manager, who said Benavides had threatened him, saying "I have a knife and I'm going to kill you!" says the affidavit. Benavides left and came back and the two men got into a fistfight, leading to the injuries on the manager's face. Benavides left the scene before officers arrived.

He returned to the car wash a third time, pulling his Jeep into a car wash lane and getting out to confront the manager, who said he again told Benavides he needed to leave before turning his back and walking towards the building. Benavides reached into his backseat and pulled out a knife, then advanced towards the manager. 

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The manager saw him coming with the knife and began backing away, saying Benavides threatened him again and said "I got a knife! I'm going to take you out!" The manager retreated until he saw an opening and punched Benavides in the face, making him fall to the ground on his back, according to the affidavit. Benavides began to get up while pointing the knife at the man, so he ran up and kicked Benavides in the face, knocking him unconscious, and retrieved the knife.

Two witnesses corroborated the manager's statement and video footage captured the entire incident. The knife was described in court paperwork as a kitchen paring knife with a three-inch single-edged blade.

Bail was set at $20,000.