Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

News

April 9, 2014

3 injured, 2 cited in Wells fight

Church of Wells members involved in altercation at event

WELLS — Three Church of Wells members were injured Saturday when attacked by two men during the annual Well's Homecoming Day parade, according to officials.

Kenneth Hunt, 38, and Dantrell Casel, 20, both of Alto, were issued citations for disorderly conduct, according to reports from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department.

The report said the two men engaged in a fight with Church of Wells members behind the Wells ISD gym after the church members attempted to "preach" to the crowd gathered for the parade.

In the altercation, Elder Sean Morris dodged a punch and fell, injuring his tailbone.

Morris told officers he heard and felt a "crunch" and believed his tailbone was broken. Morris was also hit with some of the pepper spray used by an officer on Hunt and Casel to stop the fight.

Church of Wells members Taylor Clifton, 22, received an injury to his upper lip and member Randall Valdez, 26, was injured on the side of his face.

All three victims refused medical treatment and refused to file charges on Hunt and Casel, said Captain John R. Raffield of the sheriff's office.

"There is only so much law enforcement can do," Raffield said. "Just because someone is saying something that you don't like or don't agree with ... we can't go and shut people up. Verbal aggression is different than physical."

When contacted by phone by the Daily Progress, Hunt refused to comment about the fight. Casel did not return the newspaper's call.

Raffield said he hopes the situation with the Church of Wells does not escalate further, however "who knows" what will happen next, he said.

Officers from Cherokee County Sheriff's Deparment, Alto Police Department and a DPS trooper responded to the scene.

While the Church of Wells has been out of the spotlight recently, despite past situations, the group was featured on a news special by ABC's Nightline Prime this past weekend.

The coverage included the parents of Catherine Grove, who left her home in Arkansas in 2013 to join the church. Contact with Grove has since been a rare occasion.

In October, Daily Progress then-reporter Ben Tinsley obtained an exclusive interview with Grove. During the interview, Grove said "I desire to stay here (with the Church of Wells)."

ABC reporter Dan Harris made attempts to speak with Church of Wells members; however, the men just stared at him in response. He eventually spoke with an elder, who refused to let ABC film the interview.

The interview appears to have taken place a few months ago, because it shows the former building where the Church of Wells held services. The building has since been sold by its leaseholders and demolished.

Church elder Jacob Gardner was featured on a portion of Harris' Nightline special, during which he refused to speak with the news team or Grove's parents.

"Thou art an offense unto me," Gardner told Harris, as he bicycled down a street in Wells.

Gardner was arrested in February at a religious event at the Sabine High School auditorium. He was charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest/search.

 

1
Text Only
News
  • RISD board mulls $16M budget

    Local school board members are considering a $16,671,955 proposed general fund budget for Rusk ISD's upcoming fiscal year – which begins Sept. 1 – but are nowhere near close to adopting the budget, said Lesa Jones, assistant district superintendent for finance and operation.

    July 22, 2014

  • National Night Out to return to Jacksonville

    National Night Out ( NNO) festivities will be returning  to Jacksonville this year.
    Jacksonville Police Crime Prevention Officer Detective Tonya Harris said all Jacksonville residents are encouraged to participate this year by sponsoring or attending a National Night Out party on Oct. 7.

    July 22, 2014

  • Bullard group rallies behind alcohol petition

    A petition calling for a city-wide city election this November that would make all areas of Bullard wet, including those which fall in Cherokee County, has proven successful, as more than the required 221 signatures have been collected.

    July 19, 2014

  • mom and kids_6776.tif Jacksonville woman celebrates 100th birthday surrounded by family, friends

    Ethel Terry, a lifelong resident of Jacksonville, celebrated her 100th birthday with an open house on July 15 at the Twin Oaks Care Facility in Jacksonville.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cemetery grass.tif Extra rainfall produces more abundant lawns, extends hay season

    Steady periods of rain this summer have been a homeowner's dream, as lawns appear more lush than in previous years.
    But for city workers, that same growth has taken on nightmarish proportions.
    “It's a maintenance nightmare,” said Ben Briley, director of the City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cherokee County arrests: July 8-14

    The Daily Progress will publish a list of arrests from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office on a weekly basis.

    July 19, 2014

  • Detective recovers nearly $7K in case

    When a Jacksonville woman became a victim of a scam, Jacksonville Police Detective Greg Compton stopped at nothing to solve the case.
    In early January, Compton said a neighbor of a 94-year-old woman reported that someone had “taken advantage of her.”

    July 17, 2014

  • Bullard ISD names interim leader

    During a meeting Monday night, the Bullard ISD Board of Trustees appointed Joe Dan Lee as Interim Superintendent.

    July 17, 2014

  • City to continue summer mosquito spraying schedule

    Next week, the City of Jacksonville will continue implementing its summer mosquito spraying program.

    July 17, 2014

  • 18wheelerWreck 0715.tif Double 18-wheeler wreck snarls morning traffic

    No injuries were reported Monday morning after an 18-wheel tractor-trailer bore the brunt of damage when it collided with a logging truck in front of it, according to Jacksonville Police officer Matthew Odom. The wreck occurred at the intersection of Jackson and Canada streets.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo