Firefighters gather to see apparatus shooter's court hearing
More than a dozen firefighters went to court in an effort to keep Michael Wilson in jail until he can stand trial for shooting at a fire truck
By Adam Lawson
BELMONT, N.C. — More than a dozen firefighters and Belmont city officials went to court Thursday in an effort to keep a city resident in jail until he can stand trial on charges he fired a gun at passing motorists, including the private vehicles of volunteer firefighters and a Belmont fire truck.
Michael Edward Wilson stands accused of shooting at at least four vehicles between July 28 and May 2, but his presence in the Belmont community goes back further. The South Point Road resident has filmed hundreds of encounters with drivers around his property since 2011 and posted them on YouTube for the world to see.
Assistant District Attorney Debbie Gulledge described the 60-year-old man as a "disagreeable fellow," and Wilson's own attorney, Cindy Letorney, described his relationship with the South Point Volunteer Fire Department as "some sort of a vendetta."
Belmont City Manager Adrian Miller didn't mince words when asked about Wilson's presence in the community.
"We wouldn't be here if we didn't think this was a threat to us," said Miller, who has been aware of Wilson for several years. "We feel safer with him in jail."
Letorney asked Superior Court Judge Todd Pomeroy to lower Wilson's $1 million bond to $250,000. Gulledge asked that the bond stay at least $500,000. Pomeroy kept Wilson's bond at $1 million.
Wilson didn't speak to anyone other than his attorney during the proceedings.
He faces four counts of discharging a weapon into an occupied vehicle and several counts of malicious assault in secret. He's been in jail since his arrest May 14, a relief to Dorianne Bell White.
White says her son's vehicle was one of the ones shot at. She also remembered her own run-ins with Wilson, who she says brake checked her and shined bright lights on her in both directions.
"It's not just to us," White said. "I don't know the guy personally. I know where he lives and that guy has a spotlight out on the road all the time and he's videoing people and it's just crazy."
White says avoiding South Point Road isn't much of an option for her because it can add 10 miles in either direction. Instead she's driven by, taking "that chance" that he'll shoot at her.
A passion for serving his community ensures that White's son continues to fight fires. But she said there's less worry now that he's behind bars.
She said she wants Wilson to be held accountable for his actions.
"It's just harassment," White said. "And we want to make sure he stays behind bars."
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