Brandishing a sword and hatchet, a Lawton man accused of threatening a local telecommunications company employee and attacking his utility vehicle, was placed under arrest yesterday afternoon.
Records released from the Comanche County Sheriff’s Department stated that Robert Sturgis Powers, 56, of Lawton, was booked into Comanche County Detention Center for the incident on Wednesday, Aug. 14. He is currently being held on complaints of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and malicious injury or destruction of property less than $1,000.
Robert reportedly admitted to officials that he used the weapons to damage a Hilliary Communications’ vehicle that he claims was blocking the view of the stop sign at the corner of Stoney Point Road and Tackle Box Road in Lawton.
Hilliary Communications Fiber Splicer, Chris Brown, told The Chronicle that he had been working on fiber inside the company utility trailer when his generator repeatedly turned off. Hoping to fix the issue, Chris said he left his work space and found Robert sitting on the edge of the trailer with his finger on the generator’s power button. Words were exchanged said Chris, with Robert telling him to move the vehicle and Chris telling Robert to leave.
Chris stated that as he began to turn away, ending the discussion, Robert slapped him on the back of the shoulder then walked toward his three wheeled motorcycle, popped the clutch and did a “wheelie” in the intersection and left. He ultimately ran the stop sign he had initially complained that he couldn’t see, said Chris.
About 10 minutes later, Chris said Robert returned wielding a sword and a hatchet.
After stabbing the front two tires on the 2012 Dodge 5500 bucket truck, popping them with the sword, Chris said Robert then retreated into the roadway.
“He was standing in the middle of the road and started swinging his sword wildly,” said Chris. “Then he stopped, looked at me and told me that I could be next.”
According to Chris, Robert attempted to advance toward him, but was warned that it would be a “bad idea.” Instead, Robert reportedly stabbed the sword into the ground and told Chris to “call the law.” While on the phone with dispatch, Chris said Robert then began to point toward the company vehicle, silently counting to 10 using his fingers, then used his ‘battle hatchet’ to shatter numerous windows. “He was aggressively showing me what he was going to do next to the truck with his hands,” Chris said.
When Deputy Tony Kimmel arrived to the scene, he noted in his report that he observed a “four foot sword that was stuck in the shoulder of Tackle Box Road” and a damaged Hilliary Communications vehicle. The suspect was located nearby under a tree and arrested. A 16-inch hatchet, was removed from his belt. In a conversation with Deputy Kimmel, Robert reportedly recounted the events and admitted to the crime, stating, “and yes, I did that” as he gestured toward the damaged vehicle.
Although Chris says he wasn’t overly worried about the bizarre turn of events, he did mention that it was “definitely something out of the ordinary.”
“I feel like there’s something in the water right now with all I’ve seen on TV and social media,” he said. “This seems like something you’d never see in real life. It was a weird day.”
Comanche County Sheriff Kenny Stradley described the incident as being “unreal”, comparing the sword as looking like something “straight out of the movies.”
While the actual figure of damages to the bucket truck hasn’t been determined yet, JJ Francais, Director of Special Projects for Hilliary Communications, said the damages are expected to be well over $1,000.
“We plan, prepare and train our team for a variety of scenarios, but it isn’t every day we encounter swords and battle axes,” said JJ. “Hilliary Communications routinely reviews our safety protocols and standards and will be visiting with our crews about this incident.”
“Chris followed his training and contacted our dispatcher and when the situation escalated he called the sheriff’s office. We are very thankful the deputies responded quickly and that no one was injured.”
Official charges have not been filed in the case to date.