Henry County’s cost to repair the water tower at Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre rose to about $35,000, and an investigator has talked to a man who told friends he was the one who shot a hole in it.
These details emerged from a search warrant on file in the Henry County Circuit Court Clerk’s office.
This all started sometime during a Saturday night on Jan. 4, when the water tower at 196 Commonwealth Crossing Parkway near Ridgeway was damaged by a bullet. The Henry County Public Service Authority and the Henry County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene.
“It appears that sometime overnight the tank took on some gunfire that created a hole in the tank,” Henry County Administrator Tim Hall said the following day. “The PSA is monitoring it and investigating the damage.”
According to the search warrant, 1 million gallons of water had to be drained from the tank, so that it could be cleaned and repaired.
Henry County Sheriff’s Office Investigator R.M. Turner said on Jan. 6 that a man was in a car with four of his friends and had admitted to them that he “shot the water tower and it made the news.”
On Jan. 8, Turner said the man had confirmed to him that account, that he had told his friends that he shot at the tower and had shown them “where the patch was.
“But he said he just said it trying to be funny.”
Turner said one of the man’s friends in the car said he “showed him the tower and where it had been shot” and then “told him he shot it with a .44, and it wouldn’t penetrate the tower, so he pulled out a sniper rifle and shot the water tower.”
The search warrant was filed against Facebook, requesting access to an account that had photos of the man’s likeness and first name, but the document listed a different last name than shows on the account. The Bulletin is not publishing the man’s name because he has not been charged with a crime.
Turner said in the search warrant that he asked the man if he went by the name on the Facebook account, and the man said he didn’t. But he did admit the pictures on the account were of him. Then he admitted the Facebook account with the alias last name was indeed his, the warrant states.
In Turner’s request for the search warrant, he wrote about the Facebook account that “it’s believed possible evidence can be found.”
The cover photo on the Facebook account being investigated is a black-and-white image of a shirtless man, with a dark, trimmed beard and wearing a hunting cap, aiming a sniper rifle almost directly at the camera. The gun obscures half of his face.
Said Hall: “We have multiple surveillance cameras onsite, and we will be working to find the people responsible, and we will pursue whatever legal means we can against them.”
Bill Wyatt is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. He can be reached at 276-638-8801, Ext. 236. Follow him @billdwyatt