-By Dan Murphy
A 37-year-old Boston man was arrested for allegedly threatening a family, including a toddler, at knifepoint on the Dartmouth Street Footbridge Wednesday, State Police said.
A victim contacted State Police barracks at about 11:20 a.m. and reported that the suspect assaulted him, his mother and 2½-year-old daughter on the footbridge. The victim stated that the suspect bumped into his 57-year-old mother, prompting the victim to turn to the suspect and say, “Excuse me.”
At this time, the suspect reportedly turned towards the three family members, removed a knife from his pants pocket and stepped towards them. “Excuse me,” the suspect yelled.
The suspect ran off the bridge onto the Charles River Esplanade and fled across Storrow Drive in the direction of Clarendon Street. State Police barracks broadcasted a description of the suspect, and numerous State Police units responded to the scene.
Several minutes later, a State Trooper observed a man matching the suspect’s description at Arlington and Beacon streets.
The individual, later identified as Joel R. Webster, told the trooper that he didn’t have a knife, but said he had a “problem with a guy and his mother” and admitted that he might have “used his keys” during the altercation.
Webster was advised of his Miranda rights, at which time he again denied having a knife.
Both adult victims were brought to the suspect’s location and separately identified him as the perpetrator.
Meanwhile, three witnesses on the Esplanade told State Police they had seen a man matching Webster’s description burying an object near the banks of the Lagoon by the footbridge.
A State Trooper located a knife partially buried in the mud on the banks of the lagoon and turned the object over to the State Police Crime Scene Services Section for processing.
Troopers escorted Webster to State Police barracks, where he provided a voluntary statement and was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and threats to commit at time.
Webster was arraigned at the Charlestown Division of the Boston Municipal Court and order off the Esplanade, except on July 4, according to published reports.
In a separate incident, a 61-year-old female victim told State Police she was struck from behind and thrown into the Charles River at around 3 a.m. Wednesday. The victim was able to pull herself out of the river and walk to the Prudential Mall, where security notified Emergency Medical Services and police.
The victim, who said she wasn’t sexually assaulted, was taken to Boston Medical Center for treatment, but couldn’t provide a description of her attacker.