Waterloo Regional Police last week arrested a man who matched the description of the male who caused a disturbance in Elmira’s Gibson Park.
On July 17 at about 2 p.m., an unknown male – described as approximately 5’6”, with a full beard – was seen screaming in the park. He knocked food out of the hand of someone there, and exposed himself as children played nearby. He was wearing a pink shirt and red plaid pants.
A man of no fixed addressed was spotted by police a couple of days later in Kitchener.
“The accused was arrested yesterday (July 19) in Kitchener when one of our officers observed him walking and noticed he matched the description of the suspect,” said Cst. André Johnson.
Sarah McGray was in the park at the time of the incident, playing with her kids.
“I kind of caught the tail end of everything. We were playing on the exercise equipment area at the park when the man came through the pathway. A mom and her two children had already left down the pathway to leave the park. And then they came back shortly thereafter and that’s kind of when the commotion started,” she said.
“I think there was a confrontation between them on the path at some point, because she was yelling back at him. And he said something like, ‘You’re gonna call me an a**hole? Here’s my a**hole,’ then dropped his pants and showed us his [behind].”
“And I didn’t see when he hit something out of somebody’s hand, apparently he did that – I didn’t see that part. But then he was just yelling at her, calling her profanities, and continued down the path.”
McGray wrote her account of the incident on Facebook.
“I just wanted to ease people’s minds because the way that it was being conveyed was that this man exposed his genitalia to people at the park, and it kind of came across as like there’s some sort of creeper on the loose showing his genitalia to children, and he’s erratic and out of control and going to get kids. I just wanted to put people’s mind at ease and say, like, ‘No, this is a bit more of an isolated incident, and that he was reacting to some sort of confrontation that happened.’
“He was definitely erratic, and definitely not somebody I would like to encounter with my children per se, but I don’t think that he poses a threat to the community, in that sense.”
While it was happening, McGray was most concerned for her kids. She kept them close.
“My kids, they’re quite sensitive to that, they’re 4 and 8. They were pretty startled and rattled by the whole thing, so I just kind of kept them close, and told them not to worry about anything that’s going on. I’ve actually worked with people in the mental health capacity before, so I was just like, ‘Let’s just ignore and not feed into this.’”
After having time to reflect on the incident, McGray was left to wonder how the man came to be in Elmira.
“I was just kind of curious, where did he come from? He was not wearing shoes. He was quite erratic and it’s just kind of out of the normal for the town.”