Elgin town councilman arrested

dprice@thestate.comJanuary 30, 2013 

— A town councilman in Elgin was Wednesday charged with vandalizing a gun range, according to Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews.

Norman Allen “Bubba” Ernst, 41, is charged with malicious injury to personal property. Ernst is accused of vandalizing a gun range on his property in Kershaw County Saturday, while in dispute over a lease agreement with the range’s operator, Matthews said. He’s being held at Kershaw County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.

Ernst dispute between Ernst and his tenant in December, Matthews said. Ernst asked the operator to shut down the gun range because he said the noise from gunfire was interfering with his business, Elgin Quick Lube, next door. The gun range operator, however, refused to shutter the business.

Kershaw County deputies served the gun range operator with eviction notices, Matthews said. Around the same time, five acts of vandalism. In the incidents, the range’s gate was destroyed, partitions of the shooting range were destroyed and tires set up to prevent rounds from exiting the range were dismantled, Matthews said.

Then, on Saturday, a member of the gun range saw two men damaging the business, and called police. The witness later picked Ernst out of a lineup of suspects, Matthews said, and the town councilman was arrested.

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