Bakersfield man hit with 24-inch wrench; Suspect arrested

Reports: Victim accused suspect of stealing cell

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - An oil field employee with PCL construction is in the hospital after being attacked by another employee Tuesday.

On Sept. 3, at about 11:00 a.m., Kern County Sheriff’s deputies went to the Berry Petroleum site in the area of Hwy. 33 and Cadet Rd. near Derby Acres regarding a report of an assault with a deadly weapon.

When deputies arrived they said the victim was receiving aid from medical and fire crews.

Deputies spoke to several witnesses who said Fitts had lost his cell phone and was looking for it. As he was searching, a co-worker, identified as 46-year-old Michael Atkison, approached Fitts from behind holding a 24-inch wrench. Atkison then struck Fitts on the back of the head with the wrench.

Deputies said Atkison allegedly brandished the pipe wrench at several other co-workers when they tried confronting him about the incident. Atkison then entered a work truck and fled the area. 

According to initial reports, the fight was allegedly because Fitts had accused Atkison of stealing his cell phone earlier in the day. But witnesses told deputies that there did not appear to be any confrontation between Fitts and Atkison before the assault.

Fitts was air-lifted to Kern Medical Center and is in critical condition. Family of Fitts told 23ABC News that Fitts suffered a skull fracture and had swelling of the brain. Fitts had his skull stapled Tuesday night.

Deputies obtained a warrant for Atkison's arrest.

Later that day, deputies went to Buena Vista Golf Course, which is several miles west of Derby Acres, regarding a suspicious person. When they arrived deputies found the person in the parking lot and determined it was Atkison.

Atkison was arrested on the warrant charging him with assault with a deadly weapon.

Deputies found Atkison's vehicle parked on a dirt road about five miles south of the golf course. Deputies said they found a wrench in the bed of the pickup and seized it as evidence, however it is unknown if it is the wrench used in the assault.

Atkison was later booked into the Kern County Jail. His bail has been set at $50,000.

PCL told 23ABC that they are 'doing [their] own internal investigation,' as well as the Sheriff's Office.

Atkison is expected in court on Thursday.

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