An Ajax man is facing charges after he allegedly assaulted a 68-year-old crossing guard with a gardening tool in an “unprovoked” attack, Durham Regional Police say.

According to police, at around 12:30 p.m. on May 16, a man approached a crossing guard working in the area of Williamson Drive East and Salem Road North and began assaulting him with a gardening tool that featured a metal spade and fork.

Police say the crossing guard was forced to the ground and was “violently attacked” before citizens who witnessed the incident while driving by rushed to the victim’s defence.

The alleged assailant was subdued and held on the ground by the witnesses until officers arrived.

The 68-year-old was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

The suspect was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, possession of weapons dangerous to public peace, and failing to comply with a recognizance.

Police say they do not know what motivated the man to assault the crossing guard and noted that the suspect was subsequently taken to hospital for a mental health assessment.

Anyone with new information about the incident is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers anonymously.