Man charged with shooting son's front lawn

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A 55-year-old Lewisburg man was jailed early Tuesday morning on charges alleging he fired semi-automatic assault rifle bullets into his son's front yard next to his home on Elm Street at Fayetteville Highway, city police reported.

And apparently Steve Carroll posted signs in his home across the street from a Shell filling station that "indicated that some areas could be booby trapped," Police Chief Chuck Forbis said while waiting for a search warrant to permit police re-entry.

"'Danger, blasting caps, TNT, pressure release,'" were among the words officers on the city-county Emergency Response Team saw just before their leader, Detective Sgt. David Henley, called for withdrawal, according to Forbis.

Other phrases included, "'If you stick around,' something like that, 'you'll go too,' or 'we'll take you with us,'" Forbis said.

The chain of events leading to Carroll's surrender and arrest were "certainly, domestically related," the police chief said.

"So far," Forbis said at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, "we don't know the reasons why (Carroll shot into the ground of his son's front yard) but he did, and someone (an uninvolved neighbor) called 911 and reported gunshots being fired."

Between midnight and 1 a.m., several patrol officers first responded to the report of shots being fired.

"They met with the victims," Forbis said, naming Steve Carroll's son, Wesley Carroll, and another resident. Officers "were told that Steve Carroll had fired several gunshots in front of their house."

The bullets went "into the ground within six feet of the front porch," the chief said. "Some may have been closer."

The father was taken into custody at about 4 a.m., Forbis said. It took about two to two and a half hours for police to talk the man into coming out of his house. During that time, part of Elm Street was closed. Fayetteville Highway was not closed.

Steve Carroll was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one of reckless endangerment, according to county jail records.

The chain of events apparently started sometime before 1 a.m. Tuesday.

Steve Carroll drove his red Geo Tracker into Wesley Carroll's front yard, shined a spotlight onto the house and, when Wesley came to the door, he could not see whether his father was in Geo or standing next to the vehicle, the chief said.

The men spoke to each other. It was not immediately clear to police exactly when the shots were fired, but the father subsequently drove the vehicle across their yards, parked it by his house and went in, Forbis said.

"We had been trying to call him on his cell phone, and we sent text messages, but he wouldn't respond," the chief said.

The Emergency Response Team, consisting of officers from the city police and the Sheriff's Department, illuminated the father's back door by the man's drive way.

Before 4 a.m. they spoke to him using a patrol car's loudspeaker, Henley said. Officers were stationed at a patrol car with ballistic shields.

"We were able to persuade him to come out and he surrendered," Henley said.

He led the ERT into the house, but withdrew and called the Columbia Police Department's Bomb Squad, Henley said.

Columbia Police have a robot that was sent into the house to aim a video camera at what was inside the house at 1036 Elm St., Henley said. The robot's camera showed an extensive amount of ammunition. Steve Carroll's relatives told police he had numerous weapons.

Forbis said approximately 14-15 law enforcement officers participated in the chain of events.