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A Michigan man and medieval weapons collector who was the victim of a home invasion on Wednesday put an alleged intruder in the hospital after he struck the man with a replica dungeon axe.
Ben Ball told Oxygen.com he was watching popular adult cartoon "Rick and Morty" on Nov. 6 when Alex Rawls — a past violent offender and his roommate’s former boyfriend — began banging loudly on the door at around 9 p.m. Ball answered the door, told the man his roommate was in Florida, and resumed watching cartoons and playing video games, he said.
But two hours later, the loud knocking continued — and eventually Rawls kicked the door in, Ball claimed. But Ball, a medieval weapons collector and doomsday prepper, was prepared for such a scenario. He said he grabbed a long-handled battle axe and approached the doorway.
“The door flew open and I was already up out of my chair to attack him,” Ball told Oxygen.com.
A short tussle ensued and Ball said he believes he struck Rawls in the torso with his axe.
“It was kind of surreal,” Ball said. “I hit him with the axe, then he tackled me and we hit my coffee table. It was really intense.”
During the scuffle, Ball said the axe flew out of his hands, at which point both men scrambled to grab the medieval weapon.
“I knew if he got a hold of the axe I was probably going to die,” Ball recalled. “We went for the axe, both of us, and we both got hands on it.”
Eventually, Rawls allegedly let go of the axe, and fled the apartment oozing blood everywhere. Ball explained he began running up and down the hallways of his apartment building, screaming for help, axe in hand. One of his neighbors called the police and Rawls was arrested after police dogs tracked the man’s trail of blood.
He was hospitalized and charged with first-degree home invasion in the incident, according to the Washington Post.
Ball described the aftermath of the attack as a “bloody mess.”
“All the blood that I found was concentrated around the doorway area, and when the cops showed up, there was a coagulating pool of about eight inches in diameter on the floor,” he described.
Ball said he had feared for his life because he knew that Rawls was known to carry a gun.
Ball, who was thankful he was unharmed apart from “a few scrapes and bruises,” admitted he was disappointed, however, that police seized his axe.
“It was evidence,” Ball lamented. “I’m a little sad because that piece has proved itself.”
He told Oxygen.com that he had purchased the axe, which he described as a “viking axe,” at a Renaissance fair.
Ball, who grew up reading fantasy novels, taking hunter safety courses, and shooting a bow and arrow, fancies himself somewhat of a medieval weapons collector.
“I always like swords, axes, hand weapons like that,” Ball said.
He owns Nordic swords, daggers, a Marine combat knife, two pairs of armor, and said he once built a full-sized catapult out of a tree that had collapsed in his friend’s grandmother’s backyard.
His favorite relic, he said, is a double-headed carbon steel battle axe he calls his “baby.”
But the 36-year-old is also a survivalist and Armageddon prepper, which, he said, goes hand-in-hand with his proclivity for ancient weaponry.
“I’ve been trained and prepping for some sort of society collapse, regardless of natural, manmade, or otherworldly disaster,” he said. “I’ve just been training in general for the s--t to hit the fan. I just want to be ready. Learning all this old school medieval stuff has just been a part of it. When we run out of gunpowder, we’re going to have to fall back on other stuff.”
Ball, a cook at Applebees, also competes in a wrestling-inspired medieval fight club. And once a week, he and a handful of other men and women get together, don armor, and swing replica axes and swords at each other. Ball said the swords they use, typically made of polypropylene (a low density plastic), are strong enough to smash through a cinder block.
“Our motto is, ‘It’s not a matter of if you get hurt — it’s a matter of when,'" he joked.
Ball’s fascination with all things castles, kings, and knights has even extended into the realm of fashion. He also designs jewelry and other fashion accessories made out of chainmail.
His alleged attacker, Rawls, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted, the Post reported.
Rawls has a past criminal record, according to online court records. He was convicted for attempting to disarm a police officer's firearm and resisting arrest or assaulting a police officer in 2004, as well as fleeing police in 2011.
Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office wasn’t available for comment on Monday.
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