Reporting John Lauritsen
COON RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO) – A Coon Rapids man who stuck up for a little boy almost became a victim himself.
Jamie Godlewski says he saw a father spanking his child too hard and stepped in.
“I just assumed he would have stopped and left. I didn’t know it would escalate to anything like that at all,” he said.
Jamie Godlewski says all he wanted was for 30-year-old Justin Watson to stop spanking his son. Godlewski says he saw Watson do it twice, and each time he cringed.
“When he hit him in the butt his feet were pretty much parallel to his head and they came back and hit the ground. That’s not a spanking in my book…That’s too much” he said.
And that’s when Godlewski says he got involved. He asked the father to stop.
“He said ‘What are you going to do about it?’ I said, ‘Well, you not gonna to do it anymore,’” said Jamie.
But instead of fighting, Godlewski says Watson ran to his car with his two sons inside and began chasing after him.
“It was floored. I mean he was going so fast his tires were smoking,” he said.
For the next 10 minutes, Jamie says Watson tried to run him down, as he stayed closed to a light pole for protection. Watson’s intent was clear to Jamie.
“[Watson] said ‘I’m going to kill you,’” said Jamie.
But that wasn’t all. Godlewski says Watson repeatedly yelled that he was a marine, and later yelled that he was crazy and suffering from post-traumatic stress – all while he tried to hit Jamie with his car.
Witnesses say the game of chicken eventually ended, and Watson pulled up to a curb, picked up his wife and daughter, and sped off.
Godlewski, who has 3 children of his own, says he was never really worried about his own safety.
“I was worried about the kids. I didn’t care if he was going to harm me or not, but those kids, I wanted them to be safe,” he said.
WCCO contacted the Marine Corps on Monday, and they said there is no record of a Justin Watson listed in their database with his birthdate.
Watson has been charged with making terroristic threats, but not child abuse. He has a history of assault convictions dating back to 2001.