CANAAN — The owners of a campground where a man slashed camp vehicle tires Sunday evening say the campers who subdued him made the situation worse than it needed to be.

Brandon York’s mother said he shouldn’t have been arrested because he has special needs.

York, 26, of Minot, allegedly slashed tires and was banging on camping vehicles Sunday evening, causing an estimated $3,000 worth of damage, Somerset County Chief Deputy James Ross said. A group of campers subdued York and restrained him with duct tape while waiting for police to arrive. But Jeff and Melanie Peterson, who have owned the Skowhegan/Kennebec KOA campground on U.S. Route 2 since 2014, said this was an isolated incident and that York might have mental health problems.

Brandon York

“Too many people got involved,” Jeff Peterson said.

The Petersons did not dispute authorities’ description of events Sunday night, but they said a bad situation escalated when the campers got involved.

Jeff Peterson described a “mob scene” with an estimated 25 people chasing York, yelling at him and ultimately restraining him.

“It was kind of a freak thing that happened,” Jeff Peterson said.

The Petersons said York was carrying only pocket knives, but acknowledged that “a knife is a knife and it caused damage.”

On Thursday afternoon, York was still at Somerset County Jail, where his bail had been set at $20,000. York’s mother, Tammy Harmon, said she is struggling to come up with his bail money.

York was staying with people at the campground and had been there before, but the Petersons said York’s actions were “something no one would have seen coming.” Since his arrest on charges of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, assault and criminal mischief, he no longer is allowed at the campground.

“This was not a drunken holiday weekend,” Jeff Peterson said, but rather an isolated incident involving an individual “with some issues.”

Jeff Peterson said no drugs or alcohol were involved. By behaving like a mob, the campers made York angrier, he said.

“If they had backed off, it never would have gotten to the level it did,” he said.

Jeff Peterson said none of the campers involved in the incident were still at the camp Thursday. Melanie Peterson said no one was hurt during the incident.

York’s mother said her son has a number of disabilities, including XYY syndrome, in which a person has an extra male chromosome and can exhibit autism spectrum disorders, depression, schizophrenia and mild learning disabilities. Harmon said her son was living in a group home at the time and has been in and out of group homes since he was 10.

Harmon did not find out about her son’s arrest until family members saw it on the news. She said what happened at the campground was not all her son’s fault, and she didn’t know why he was there in the first place.

“He’s not a bad kid,” Harmon said, getting choked up over the phone.

Harmon said that although her son is 26, he has the intellectual development of a young child. She also said no one from York’s group home contacted her to let her know about her son’s arrest.

“He should not be in jail,” Harmon said. “He should be in a hospital getting help.”

Ross said Thursday that there were no updates on the investigation. He said York’s family had contacted the sheriff’s department about his special needs, which were being dealt with, but that the deputies did not know he had special needs at the time of the arrest.

Ross said that by the time deputies arrived, York already had been subdued, so Ross didn’t know if the crowd’s actions escalated the situation.

“The deputies took him into custody,” Ross said. “He was compliant and has been since.”

Colin Ellis can be contacted at 861-9253 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis