ELGIN, SC — The Elgin Town Council member arrested in January for vandalism is back in jail after being accused of hitting his wife with a flashlight, the Kershaw County sheriff said.
Norman “Bubba” Ernst is charged with criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature, Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews said. Ernst’s arrest comes after his wife went to the Elgin Police Department Monday to report two domestic assaults over the weekend, including one Saturday that occurred at his business outside town limits.
In that incident, at Elgin Quick Lube, Ernst was accused of striking his wife over the head with a large flashlight, Matthews said. The woman had to be treated at Palmetto Health Richland hospital in Columbia.
Ernst left Kershaw County after learning police and deputies were looking for him, Matthews said. The Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office put out a statewide be-on-the-lookout alert for Ernst after obtaining a warrant for his arrest, and the man was arrested in Mount Pleasant Tuesday. When he was arrested he had a pistol-grip shotgun, which he was prohibited from owning as a convicted felon, Matthews said.
Deputies also searched Ernst’s home and found another shotgun, a rifle, ammunition and a small amount of marijuana. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives has been contacted to assist with investigation involving the guns because being a felon in possession of a firearm is a federal crime, Matthews said.
The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the incident that occurred in Elgin March 17 because Ernst sits on the town’s council, agency spokesman Thom Berry confirmed.
Ernst was also arrested Jan. 30 after he was accused of vandalizing a gun range on his property in Kershaw County during a dispute over the gun range’s lease. He has prior convictions for drug possession and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to a SLED rap sheet.
Ernst owns Elgin Quick Lube, which is in Kershaw County and has been serving on town council since 2011. His term is up in 2015.