Lincoln Park man charged with spitting on front-line workers

The Detroit News

A Lincoln Park man has been charged with a threat of terrorism after prosecutors accused him of spitting on hospital workers to intentionally spread the coronavirus.

Richard Allen Kechego, 30, was charged in incidents at Wyandotte and Dearborn hospitals.

Kechego was arraigned Wednesday in 27th District Court in the Wyandotte case, which stemmed from an incident March 29, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office. He "verbally assaulted, threatened and spat at several hospital staff with the intent to infect them with the virus," a news release said.

Bond for Kechego was set at $50,000 cash, and he must wear a GPS tether and remain under house arrest if he posts bond.  

He is expected to be arraigned Thursday morning via Zoom in 19th District Court in the case involving another alleged spitting incident April 16 at a hospital in Dearborn. Both cases include a charge of harmful device/unlawful use.

“It is hard to wrap one’s mind around this defendant’s alleged behavior, especially during these times," said Prosecutor Kym Worthy. "If you are even thinking about doing something like this, know that acting on it is criminal behavior.”

Incidents involving people allegedly spitting, attempting to potentially expose people to the virus or challenging essential workers have surfaced since recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and executive orders from Michigan's governor directed people to wear masks or engage in social distancing.

A 68-year-old Genesee County man is accused of wiping his nose on a store clerk's shirt on Saturday after she asked him to leave when he wasn't wearing a mask. Rex Gomoll was arraigned on misdemeanor assault and battery charges.

In March, a Mount Morris man was charged after prosecutors allege he intentionally touched shopping carts at a grocery store after saying he had COVID-19.

The mask order also is believed to have sparked a fatal shooting in Michigan. 

On Friday, Calvin Munerlyn, a 43-year-old security guard at a Flint Family Dollar store, was shot and killed allegedly over an argument with a customer who refused to wear a mask in the store.