Letter: SCDOT Employee Attacked An Elderly Veteran

(The letter below was submitted this week to S.C. Department of Transportation director Christy Hall, Richland County, S.C. Sheriff Leon Lott and S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control director Catherine Heigel). Director Hall, Sheriff Leon Lott, Director Heigel, On March 9, 2016 my 88-year-old father – an Army and…

(The letter below was submitted this week to S.C. Department of Transportation director Christy Hall, Richland County, S.C. Sheriff Leon Lott and S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control director Catherine Heigel).

Director Hall, Sheriff Leon Lott, Director Heigel,

On March 9, 2016 my 88-year-old father – an Army and Air Force Veteran – and I were physically attacked and assaulted while entering our property located on Windsor Lake Boulevard in Richland County by a man claiming to be a S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) employee.  This attack has been covered up by two Richland County deputies.

A little after 4:00 p.m. (EST) on March 9, 2016 my father and I arrived at our property which is the lake and dam on Windsor Lake Boulevard.  As soon as we parked and got out of the car, a white male about six feet tall dressed in a striped shirt and tan khaki pants came from across the street, 9178 Windsor Lake Boulevard, and began yelling and screaming at us that we were trespassing.  I explained to him over and over we were the property owners and to leave us alone and that he was more than welcome to call the police.

As his yelling and threats became more intense, I pleaded with him to leave, and to leave us alone.  He stated several times he was with the SCDOT and could stand wherever he wanted.  I once again asked him to leave us alone and to call the police.  As we headed further down the embankment to add an additional lock to the chain blocking the access point to our dam, he followed us down the embankment still screaming and threatening us.  When he stepped onto our property at the chain and posts on our dam, I asked him to leave and call the police.

He refused to leave our property and it was at this point he knocked my 88-year-old father to the ground into a patch of briars. My father’s head almost hit one of the concrete filled steel posts for the chain. As my father was trying to get up he shoved my father into me with such force it pushed both of us into the chain and my father fell to the ground again.  After regaining my balance I drew my concealed weapon and relied on my concealed weapon permit training to stop this vicious attack.  Once he backed away from us I holstered my weapon and took several pictures of him blocking our only exit to our vehicle while he was still screaming and pointing at us, before I called 911. I have included two of these pictures …

I called 911 at 4:29 p.m. (EST) asking for help and assistance.  At approximately 4:43 p.m. a Richland County deputy arrived and went to the attacker’s home.  It was almost ten minutes before this deputy came to check on me and my father.  After I handed my driver’s license and concealed weapon permits to the deputy, he took my weapon out of my holster, unloaded it and put it in the glove compartment of my car.  This deputy had absolutely no reason to disarm me or enter my vehicle, especially without my permission.

This deputy went back to the attacker’s house and a second Richland County deputy also drove up to the attacker’s house.  After several more minutes both deputies came back to where we were.  We explained in great detail what happened and showed them our injuries.  The first deputy said that I would spend five years in jail if we wanted to press charges for the assault and the man who attacked us would only get thirty days.

This deputy repeatedly threatened me with an unlawful arrest and at one point while he was standing in front of me the other deputy stood directly behind me.  I felt very threatened by their actions and the first deputy’s tone.  The second deputy would not even make eye contact and seemed uncomfortable with how the first deputy was acting.  These deputies did not take pictures of our injuries or the blood on the ground where the attack happened.  As far as we know this attack was not documented.  The first deputy stated several times that he could assure us that the attacker would leave us alone.  I knew at this point these deputies were protecting him and we needed to leave so I could take care of my father’s injuries.  I also know that a Richland County deputy lives either next door or one house over from the man who attacked us.

Because of the trauma from this incident my father will not return to his property.  Rather than making the improvements to the dam outlined by an engineer per the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) guidelines my father is contemplating draining the 32-acre lake. The contractor we hired will need police protection while working.

It will take my father weeks if not months to recover from this attack. This has been one of the most shocking experiences of my life, I wasn’t able to sleep for four days, and the way we were treated by the Richland County deputies was equally as shocking and disappointing.


Howard Townsend
Columbia, S.C.



Howard: Wow … thank you for sharing this letter.  FITS is going to do some digging to see what additional information we can uncover about this situation – including the perspective of the as-yet-unidentified SCDOT employee.  In the meantime, I hope you – and especially your father – are able to recover from your injuries.


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Tazmaniac March 15, 2016 at 6:02 pm

Don’t drain that lake, drain that asshat’s bank account. The Deputies are just covering for that idiot neighbor of theirs and you could possibly sue the “Officers” for Civil Rights violations.

Pew Pew March 15, 2016 at 6:20 pm

Now. Let’s hear what really happened with this dickhead and his gun flashing bullshit. Looks like the guy got schooled and shamed when the real ‘good guys’ arrived. That’s what happens when you play ‘cowboy’.

Roberto March 15, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Real good guys? Like the one who shot the goy and just plead guilty yesterday? Or the one who shot the unarmed man in the back in N. Charlestown? Maybe you mean the officer assaulted the 16 year old girl at SV.

There are many good LEOs. But some are bullies who should themselves be jailed.

Investigate and get back to us on this.

CorruptionInColumbia March 15, 2016 at 6:49 pm

Roberto, he makes stupid comments like that on a fairly regular basis.

Pew Pew March 15, 2016 at 7:58 pm

Says the guy who thinks Sandy Hook never happened…you really do believe anything you read on the Internet, don’t you?

CorruptionInColumbia March 15, 2016 at 8:57 pm

Oh, you mean like you believe everything the MSM tells you?

common thinking March 15, 2016 at 9:04 pm

Pew Pew ….. You sir are just a dumb ass

Pew Pew March 16, 2016 at 7:09 am

We’ll see, tough guy. Haven’t been wrong yet.

Pew Pew March 16, 2016 at 7:10 am

And you believe everything FitsNews prints. Sucker. Every leave your room?

common thinking March 16, 2016 at 11:39 pm

Pew Pew…

Sorry, I should have said … You sir are truly a dumb ass

CorruptionInColumbia March 15, 2016 at 6:34 pm

If this happened as told, and I have no reason to doubt it at this time, it is shameful on the part of the RCSD personnel on multiple levels. I hope a thorough investigation is forthcoming and if true, the personnel involved are dealt with in a strict manner.

If it happened as told, you showed condiderably more restraint than I likely would have under the circumstances.

CorruptionInColumbia March 15, 2016 at 6:51 pm

Unfortunately, I cannot get a larger version of the pictures attached to the article to load.

Tazmaniac March 15, 2016 at 6:54 pm

I think I have found a work around. Right click and select “open link in new tab”. I’m on some other FITS pages that haven’t worked.

CorruptionInColumbia March 15, 2016 at 6:57 pm

I tried but all I get is that tiny thumbnail. Thanks for the suggestion, though!

Tazmaniac March 15, 2016 at 6:58 pm

On my laptop it is much larger in the new tab.

Pew Pew March 16, 2016 at 7:38 am

Old people and the internet. So funny!

TankMcNamara March 15, 2016 at 9:40 pm

Thanks, Taz. I was having the same problem and that helped.

CorruptionInColumbia March 15, 2016 at 7:13 pm

I hope the name of the bully son-of-a-bitch is made public, soon.

Good Guys March 16, 2016 at 7:07 am

Why? What are you going to do? Eat another Hot Pocket in your computer chair?

CorruptionInColumbia March 16, 2016 at 7:19 am

No asshole, but it would be nice for people to know about their co-worker, fellow church congregant, neighbor, etc.

Good Guys March 16, 2016 at 7:36 am

Sure. They don’t care either, homebody.

Sic Semper Tyrannis March 15, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Sue all involved until they can’t stand it and sue em some more.

Donald Trump March 16, 2016 at 7:36 am

“Spoken like a true American!”

jimlewisowb March 15, 2016 at 7:32 pm

If Sheriff Neon Leon has the balls to fire a Deputy for taking a piece of double sided tape, surely he can find the moxie to can a Deputy who threatens an 88 year old veteran

I can find no logic in the the first deputy’s statement ‘ that I would spend five years in jail if we wanted to press charges for the assault and the man who attacked us would only get thirty days” other then he was bullying both of you to leave their friend alone

Not quite sure how the “system” works these days but I do believe you and your Pop can appear before a local magistrate and determine if he will issue an arrest warrant for the individual who committed the assault

Good luck and let us know what happens

Squishy123 March 15, 2016 at 7:55 pm

Leon Lott won’t do a damn thing, Half Pint Lott is too worried about kissing up to the liberals and black in Richland County to deal with petty things such as this.

Squishy123 March 15, 2016 at 7:57 pm

Had he attacked my 88 year old father, his next concern would have been the bullet wound in his chest.

Good Guys March 15, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Good thing that guy has actual training and isn’t some stupid fucking hot head. I’m sure the deputies that responded would have made sure you left a squishy pile.

CorruptionInColumbia March 15, 2016 at 8:56 pm

The hot head was the bully who followed and instigated an assault on two people. Had the son chosen to ventilate him so that he might rapidly cool down, after endangering his dad’s life, I doubt many juries would have found blame on him.

Mike at the Beach March 16, 2016 at 12:43 am

I’m not sure “training” you’re referring to, but if we take the account at face value, there’s very real chance that potentially lethal force would have been justified. The law doesn’t require that the threat be using a gun also. The right amount of physical assault directed at an 88-year old can surely cause grave bodily harm. That’s the standard the courts use.

Good Guys March 16, 2016 at 7:07 am

You assume this letter is factual correct. FitsNews has a problem with the truth. You know what they say about assuming…,

Mike at the Beach March 16, 2016 at 7:28 am

No, I assume we don’t know. That’s why I said “if.” You’re assuming it’s false.

Good Guys March 16, 2016 at 7:35 am

I’m going by FitsNews record of stories that turn out to be bullshit. I’ll gladly add a letter from a reader to that list.

Ron March 16, 2016 at 10:20 am

Except this isn’t FITS story, it’s a letter that was written to him by the son/

Squishy123 March 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Was the 88 year old man in fear for his life? SC has a “good neighbor” law that allows you to step in to defend someone in grave danger with force deemed necessary. I’m saying a 30-something beating on an 88 year old man would justify you stopping the attack.

So you’re saying that the deputies who arrived 5 minutes later would have beat me to death after the fact that the weapon was secured? Sounds like SC law enforcement… so maybe they would have. It’s not like we don’t hear about law enforcement being sued and convicted of beating on people every week in this state.

Notice what you did March 16, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Now that it’s a white man.

Saul March 15, 2016 at 8:08 pm

File a formal complaint.

Also, why pay to maintain the dam and accept that liability?

Sell the dam to the homeowners.

Rocky Verdad March 16, 2016 at 10:38 am

Nah, drain it, let them look at an empty pond.

tomstickler March 15, 2016 at 8:17 pm

Anyone with basic Internet skilz can access the Richland Co GIS data to find that the parcel containing the dam belongs to Dolly W. Townsend, et al, presumably the 88 year-old veteran, and that the owner of the house across the road referenced in the letter is John Michael Chandler, Jr. Perhaps he can be asked if he knows anything about the alleged incident.

TankMcNamara March 15, 2016 at 9:42 pm

Doesn’t DOT employees normally wear clothing that ID’s them as employees?

TroubleBaby March 16, 2016 at 11:02 am

Tough guy pushing around 88 year old’s appears to be an IT manager for the SCDOT by a cursory google search…so he probably doesn’t get a badge to flash in public.(a good thing if you ask me)

TankMcNamara March 16, 2016 at 9:48 pm

i can’t wrap my brain around this and i hope the story comes out. why would a DOT IT manager be working in the field inspectingreviewing dams? I assume that’s what that person was doing. regardless, i got nothing. . . . .

CorruptionInColumbia March 17, 2016 at 3:26 pm

Hi Tank..! If I am reading it correctly, sounds like the guy claiming to be SCDOT lived across the street from the victims’ property. I get the feeling he wasn’t acting in any official DOT capacity but he was using that as his claim to fame or “importance”. I wasn’t there, but reading between the lines, it sounds as though his behavior may have been fueled by alcohol and/or drugs.

TankMcNamara March 17, 2016 at 5:02 pm

Hi CIC. you usually don’t see “DOT” and “importance” in the same sentence! and i hadn’t thought of that “neighbor” angle. weird. looking forward to the rest of the story.

CorruptionInColumbia March 17, 2016 at 6:25 pm

Oh, me too! I hope Will presents the results of his digging, soon.

falserino March 15, 2016 at 10:37 pm

This story wouldn’t even convince the OJ jury that you were in the right for brandishing a weapon at an unarmed person. I hope that a resulting investigation removes the conceal carry permit from your possession as it’s apparent you aren’t responsible enough to hold one. Let’s weigh this objectively for a moment. You and your 88 year old Veteran dad are “Viciously” assaulted by this person and he only retreats to the road (er, public easement) when you whip out your trusty iron? BS! From the looks of the picture you were down a hill and probably should’ve been more worried about helping your poor father navigate a undulating surface instead of arguing with at most a concerned neighbor willing to check up on things amiss in his neighborhood. Probably a father himself and potentially a Veteran too. Then because you were in such fear for your life, you holster your sidearm and whip out the dandy phone to take pictures of what appears to be a guy telling you that he would shove that gun up your keister if it appears again and telling your to help your poor father off the ground. But wait, it gets better, you feel uncomfortable because the police surrounded and disarmed you after you brandished for nothing more than exchanged words. SMH…

Todd March 16, 2016 at 12:34 am

Assailant detected. Hi John!

CorruptionInColumbia March 16, 2016 at 6:55 am


Pew Pew March 16, 2016 at 7:13 am

These dipshits at FitNews, and their geriatric readers, are desperate for any content that doesn’t involve TRav or paid for Trump articles.

Rocky Verdad March 16, 2016 at 8:35 am

Drain that bitch. But first throw in some algea, let that bloom real good, maybe spread some organic fertilizer in it, then after it’s all bloomin’ and strong, drain the lake and let it stink up. And put a nice big sign on your property explaining you did it because the asshole that lives at xxxxx WIndsor Lake Blvd assulted the owners of the dam, and they don’t want to deal with it anymore. Oh my, that should help further depress the values in that little foreclosure happy valley.

Yelsewh March 16, 2016 at 9:16 am

Don’t indulge crazy.

Cube Warrior March 16, 2016 at 1:18 pm

DOT employee attacked someone? Kelvin Washington’s at it again.

Kayla Townsend March 16, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Well I love all the comments coming from people who do not understand how gun laws work and what situations you can use your weapon in when you have a concealed weapons permit. and seing as the man is my father-in-law I know for a fact that this story is true and i support the way he handled the situation he gave the man plenty of opportunity to walk away and call the cops but when someone keeps on and follows you on to your property and has no right too he has even more reason to show his weapon trust me being someone who also carries a concealed weapon permit and has my gun on me at all times I would have shown my weapon a lot sooner then he did and being a female I would have been in fear for me life with someone shouting and following me onto my property and called the cops.. so he handled it alot better then I did. for all the ones out there that that want to name call and say he whipped it out and shaking it around you don’t even know what happened or the rules! so get facts before you assume! being also someone who use yo reside in richland country and knowing a lot of richland county officers personally I know alot of them who were very shady and would cover for anyone they knew and later they would end up getting caught and being thrown in jail so it does not surprise me one bit that the officers reacted the way they did. but it is very sad to me that there are some out there like that who we trust to serve and protect us! very scary to say the least! and I’m sorry I just can’t get past the fact that they were on there own property and this happened they had no right to say act that way towards my father-in-law and my great father-in-law. I hope that justice is served and this man is sued for every penny and that the two officers will be fired!!

Backwoods Barbie!

Soft Sigh from Hell March 19, 2016 at 2:30 pm

Cops anymore are often just two-bit badged bureaucrats, puffed up full of themselves, not a shred of value for an inconvenient truth, and opportunistic bullies with any contrived petty detail.

Where are the public-safety and law-enforcement officers of yore.

Gone . . . gone with the wind.


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