Vehicles destroyed in Mosses mayor’s yard

Published 12:41 pm Monday, May 14, 2012

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

The burning of two Lowndes County Emergency management vehicles, a town of Mosses vehicle and a personal vehicle at the home of Mosses Mayor Walter Hill has been attributed to retaliation for re-establishment of a police force in Mosses.

Hill said his police department, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and the state fire marshal have been asked to investigate the burning of the four vehicles, which occurred around 9 p.m. last Friday night.

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“Our investigation began Friday night and continues this morning. We currently have investigators on the scene and evidence is being collected and analysed. Obviously it’s still too early into our investigation for this office to have a comment,” said state Fire Marshal Ed Paulk.

“A little over three weeks ago, we hired three police officers for the town of Mosses Police Department,” Hill said.

He said shortly after that, an officer came upon some individuals loitering at a local business who disbursed, with one of them making a threat.

Hill said drug paraphernalia and drugs were found where the individuals had been loitering.

One of the individuals, he said, made the statement “that they did not want police in Mosses… We didn’t need police in Mosses, and they were going to make certain that they made their message clear and that they were going to get the cars.”

Hill said he believed the threat involved two new police vehicles.

However, he said, it was unknown to him that person who made the threat “would actually implement or follow through on that act in an effort to retaliate against the decision to bring law enforcement back into Mosses.”

Hill said Friday night, an EMA SUV and the county EMA mass casualty vehicle were completely burned, along with a city vehicle and a police officer’s personal vehicle.

Hill said the quick action of the fire department kept vehicle fuel tanks of the MEA vehicles that were “completely full of gas” from exploding, which could have damaged his house, his brother’s house and a neighbor’s house.

“The community has been strong in support and has said to me by calls and visits, ‘Mayor we need this law enforcement and we don’t want to see police leave our community’,” Hill said.

“This was a heinous crime and an effort to threaten me being the mayor,” he said. “I think that the message to the person or persons responsible for this is that the citizens of this community will not live in fear and be threatened by any means by such a heinous crime that a person would find within themselves to do.”

“We’re doing to everything we can to try to make this community as safe as we possibly can by all means necessary under the rule of law,” Hill added.

He said the town is seeking information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of those responsible and is in the process of setting up a reward for additional information toward that end.