Sunday, February 18, 2018
Public safety

Man's climb atop Brooksville cement plant, fight with deputies leads to arrest

Crime news

BROOKSVILLE — When deputies caught up to him early Sunday about 40 stories above a Brooksville cement plant, Jonathan Robert Wilkinson refused to come down without a fight, authorities say.

A plant supervisor saw the 20-year-old Wilkinson ascending a stairwell on the kiln structure at the Cemex plant off Cobb Road and dialed 911 about 1:45 a.m., according to a Hernando Sheriff's Office report. At one point, Wilkinson left the stairwell and started walking on a nearby beam about 60 feet above the ground, the report said.

Employees told responding deputies Steven George and Michael Kistler that Wilkinson had climbed to the top platform of the preheating tower, nearly 400 feet above the ground and surrounded by a 3-foot-high railing. According to a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, the workers told the deputies that Wilkinson was yelling, hitting himself and damaging plant equipment.

When the two deputies climbed to the platform, Wilkinson hit Kistler in the head and face several times with closed fists, the report said. George deployed his Taser, but Wilkinson, who is 5 feet 9 and 145 pounds, kept swinging, landing several blows on the deputy's chest. Wilkinson continued to try to kick and bite the deputies as they put leg shackles on him, the report said.

Wilkinson, of 3206 Wheeling Court in Land O'Lakes, was taken to Brooksville Regional Hospital for evaluation, then booked at the Hernando County Detention Center on charges of battery of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence and trespassing.

He remained in jail Tuesday with bail set at $20,500.

WEEKI WACHEE

Neighbor accused of threat with shotgun

A 50-year-old man was arrested and charged with aggravated assault early Monday after he threatened his neighbors with a shotgun, authorities said.

Thomas Scott Sharples of 11312 Lark Sparrow Road pointed the Mossberg .410-gauge shotgun at three neighbors just past midnight as they stood at the end of his driveway, according to a Hernando Sheriff's Office report.

Eariler that night, the neighbors — ages 14, 16 and 30 — put out a bonfire behind their home on Linnet Road, then discovered that someone had thrown aerosol cans into the coals, causing small explosions, the report said. They saw someone running in the direction of Sharples' house.

The trio walked to the house and found Sharples in his garage. According to the report, when they neared the driveway and asked him if he threw the cans into the fire, Sharples picked up the shotgun, pumped it, pointed the weapon at them and said, "You better run." They did.

Sharples was charged with three counts of aggravated assault and released from the Hernando County Detention Center about five hours later after posting $21,000 bail, records show.

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