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Flying bong slices man’s hand during fight over lighter in Pasco

UPDATED: Mon., March 27, 2017, 8:49 p.m.

A case displays glass bongs at the recreational marijuana store Cannabis City in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / AP)
A case displays glass bongs at the recreational marijuana store Cannabis City in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / AP)

An argument over a lighter changed to possible vandalism then an assault when a man nearly bled to death in Pasco.

The dispute started at 10:22 p.m. Saturday when a man tried to return a mini-torch lighter three weeks after he bought it at the Conoco store and gas station on the 1900 block of West Court Street, said police. The store owner declined.

The owner, Nawas Nader Salha, 32, of Richland, told police the customer began knocking large glass bongs valued at $400 off a counter, breaking them.

Salha allegedly grabbed the last unbroken bong and threatened the customer with it if he didn’t leave. He did.

While the customer was starting to drive away, police said the owner threw the bong through the driver’s side window, breaking the glass bong and severely cutting the back of customer’s hand.

The customer stopped and Salha called 911. Police said they continued arguing as the customer continued bleeding. Salha used a scarf as a bandage.

Officer Dave Herrera arrived and applied direct pressure to slow the bleeding until paramedics arrived.

“The medics described Officer Herrera’s actions as ‘life saving,’” said police.

The men told police different stories about whether the customer intended to destroy the bongs, but they agreed on how the man was cut.

Salha was booked into the Franklin County jail on suspicion of second-degree assault. The customer could face a misdemeanor charge of malicious mischief.

“The moral of this story is: Let the police handle things like this for you. We are a 24-hour service. If you find yourself in a position similar to the owner, consider taking a deep breath and being a good witness, particularly if it is someone you can identify, or a license plate you can pass on,” police said in a Facebook post.

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