Guitar strum prompts assault at downtown Wichita homeless services provider

A stranger strumming another man’s guitar’s strings initiated a violent episode with the instrument’s owner at a downtown Wichita charity.

The guitar’s owner told the strummer not to do that and moved the guitar to another part of the table at United Methodist Open Door, a homeless shelter and social services center at 402 E. Second St., said Deann Smith, Open Door’s executive director.

But the strummer wasn’t done. He walked around the table and plucked the guitar strings again, Smith said.

The guitar owner blew up at that point, grabbing the instrument and clubbing the strummer over the head a couple of times. That broke the guitar and opened a gash on the victim’s head.

The incident unfolded shortly after 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the center a couple of blocks east of Broadway, Lt. Doug Nolte said. The 48-year-old victim was taken to a local hospital, where several staples were needed to close the cut on his head.

The 47-year-old suspect was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail. At the time of the alleged assault, Nolte said, the suspect was “very intoxicated.”

“We have very few incidents like that,” Smith said of the assault.