RUSK – Eight months after being charged with assault following a Dec. 30 incident involving two teenagers, local firefighter Donald Lankford was found not guilty of the charge.

According to a document released by the Rusk Municipal Court, on Aug. 30, a jury found Lankford “not guilty of the offense of assault by physical contact.”

A report filed last December by the Rusk Police Department states that two teenage boys drove past a firework stand owned by Lankford and threw a firecracker from an SUV they were traveling in.

Reportedly, Lankford followed the teens in separate vehicle, stopped the SUV and attempted to pull one of the boys out of their vehicle.

The teenagers fled the scene in the SUV, and Lankford followed them into Anderson County attempting to stop them, the boys told police.

According to the police department, it is a violation of the law to set off any firework within 100-feet of a firework's stand or where fireworks are being stored, as well as a violation to throw fireworks from a vehicle.

Lankford, a paid Rusk firefighter, was suspended Feb. 11 as chief of the Rusk Volunteer Fire Department by the volunteer group.

He was reinstated Aug. 11 as the volunteer chief, according to interim Rusk City Manager Jim Dunaway.

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