A fire chief in South Carolina accused of assault and false imprisonment
A fire chief in South Carolina who told officials he pointed a gun at two teenagers after they turned into his driveway last year has been accused of assault and false imprisonment in a lawsuit as police reopen their investigation.
Teenagers drive into fire chief’s driveway while scouting hunting sites
The teens drove into Billy McAdams’ driveway in Townville on Aug. 29 and turned around while scouting hunting sites for geese season, according to an incident report and 911 calls provided Friday by the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.
Teens followed and forced out of their truck at gunpoint
They were followed for several minutes by two pickups through two counties until they were blocked in by one and forced out of their truck and onto the ground by McAdams, who pointed a pistol at them, according to the suit, an incident report and 911 calls.
Suit filed against fire chief and son for emotional distress
The mothers of the teens, who are now 17, filed a suit against McAdams, who at the time of the incident was the Townville fire chief, and his son. The suit accuses them of causing the teens emotional distress by forcing them out of the vehicle at gunpoint and chasing them at a high rate of speed and nearly colliding with them.
“First and foremost, Mr. McAdams is extremely concerned about the situation and is committed to addressing any allegations with the utmost sincerity and cooperation,” Amanda Bradley, who is representing the father and son in the lawsuit, said in a statement.
Police reopen investigation into the incident
A spokesperson with the sheriff’s office confirmed Friday that the agency last week reopened an investigation into the incident after Sheriff Mike Crenshaw received a letter asking why no charges had been filed.
“He made a decision to re-open the case,” said Master Deputy Jimmy Watt, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office. “The case has been transferred to an investigator with the sheriff’s office’s Criminal Investigations Bureau.”
The Townville Fire Department could not be reached Friday for comment. It was not clear if McAdams was still the fire chief.
911 calls reveal teens’ fear during the incident
The sheriff’s office provided NBC News with six 911 calls of the incident. In one, a teen is heard telling a dispatcher, “We were going to pull over to just like tell them what we were doing but they were extremely enraged. And we didn’t want to have a gun pulled on us, or anything like that.”
The boy who initially called the dispatcher tells her, “They’re yelling at us and they have guns pointed,” before clarifying that only one gun is pointed at them.
The dispatcher then says, “Stay in your car and lock the doors, OK. Don’t get out. Don’t yell at them.”
The teen on the phone with the dispatcher then says, “They’re making us get out of the car with guns. … They’re making us get on the ground — I’m sorry. We’re getting on the ground.”
In another 911 call recording, a teen tells the dispatcher the gunman “put the gun away” and “he just took the bullet out.”
Billy McAdams is then heard on the recording talking to the dispatcher who tells him, “Billy, listen, can you get in your vehicle as well and just not talk to them and separate yourself from them? We got people headed that way.”
Fire chief claims mistook teens for potential thieves
According to an incident report, McAdams told investigators he’s had a lot of thefts on his farm property and didn’t know who pulled into his driveway because the truck’s windows were tinted. He also admitted to pointing his pistol, the report stated.
Lawsuit seeks justice and damages for emotional distress
A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Clayton L. Jennings, said Friday that his clients “stand behind the allegations in the lawsuit,” which requests a jury trial, reimbursement for attorney fees and damages determined by the court.
Incidents involving guns in wrong driveways
There have been several recent high-profile incidents involving guns after drivers pulled into driveways.
In April, Kaylin Gillis, 20, was fatally shot by a resident in upstate New York, after her boyfriend pulled into the wrong driveway while looking for a party.
In late May, a Florida man was charged with aggravated assault after allegedly pointing a gun at a woman’s head when her friend used the suspect’s driveway to back up a vehicle.