PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — More than a dozen people filled a courtroom Monday to testify against a man accused of unleashing pepper spray at a Home Depot.
A total of 16 people were affected during the incident, and many of them were just children.
“It was the craziest thing because you just kind of first cough a little bit, but then you start noticing that everyone around you in coughing, too,” said Mike Bezilla, a witness and victim.
“I saw him spray something, but I wasn’t sure what,” added Annie Bezilla.
Police say 50-year-old Stewart Trolle blasted pepper spray into the air inside the Home Depot in Hampton Township.
It happened on Mother’s Day last year when many families were walking the aisles with their little kids in tow.
“I can’t believe that he would just do something like that. Like, what would the motivation be to go to a public place and do something like that?” said Mike.
Trolle’s attorney said his client did not intentionally spray anyone, but the victims say that’s not the case. They say they saw him walking up and down the aisles with the pepper spray held at his side.
Now the suspect’s attorney said he didn’t intentionally spray anyone– but the victims aren’t buying it.
They say they saw the pepper spray down along his side and he was walking up and down the aisles like this.
“I looked around and everyone was coughing, so my daughter was standing with me, I grabbed my daughter, pulled her shirt over her face, I covered my face and said, ‘Get out, we need to get out of here,’” said Lucy Miller, another witness. “We went out, and so did he, and he went out with us, and his little canister and hid it out in the parking lot.”
Lucy and Sean Miller’s then 11-year-old child now deals with anxiety. The Bezilla’s children, 1 and 5 at the time, couldn’t talk for days.
“It was gone from the pepper spray, because their throats were so irritated,” said Annie.
Trolle pleaded guilty on Monday to criminal charges of simple assault. His attorney asked the judge to not send him to jail because he suffers from congestive heart failure.
He’s facing 16 charges for simple assault, and six of those would include more jail time since they involved kids.
The judge will now review Trolle’s entire criminal history before setting a new date and time for his sentencing.