For the second time in as many months, the Newton County Sheriff’s Department spent part of the weekend dealing with a severely mentally disturbed man in the southern end of the county. This time, according to Sheriff Billy Rowles, he lit a gasoline soaked building on fire while he was inside, but firefighters were able to quickly knock down the flames and then deputies took him into custody.
This happened Saturday on County Road 3136 in the Gist Community, which is the same location where the same man in mid-December was accused of setting his mother’s vehicle on fire and then running into a wooded area to escape deputies, all the while firing rounds from a shotgun.
In the latest incident, Sheriff Rowles said that the man’s sister called 911 and reported that her brother, who was again armed with a shotgun, had poured about 5 gallons of gasoline all around her house and her shop next door. Rowles said his deputies arrived to find the man was barricaded in the shop and refusing to come out.
According to Rowles, as deputies were trying to negotiate with the man, Deweyville firefighters were able to spray foam on the gasoline outside to neutralize it.
However, Rowles said while negotiations were still underway, the man lit the inside of the shop on fire. After firefighters managed to douse the flames, Rowles said a strap was attached to the door and it was ripped open, allowing deputies to rush inside and take the man into custody.
Rowles said criminal charges are pending against the man. Meanwhile, he is reportedly receiving psychiatric care.
His identity has not been released.