Shots fired as utility crew worked, one arrested

MART, TX - One man was arrested Tuesday morning after water utility workers were threatened with a gun and shots were fired near Mart in McLennan County.

McLennan County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy David Kilcrease said they were called just after 7:00 a.m. when workers with the Mart Water Utility Department were working on a broken water line behind the suspect's property on Lakeland Hills Drive - about four miles from Mart.

The workers said as they were working, a man came out of a house and began threatening them, firing several shots into the air.

Two fled, while one hit the ground and hid, while help was being called.

Several deputies responded to the scene and made contact with the man, and got him to surrender a short time later.  

This property owner is now identified as 54-year-old Sheldon Gridley, who was taken to the McLennan County Jail and charged with three counts of terroristic threat and one count of deadly conduct.

The house was located well off the road behind a gated entrance.

None of the utility workers were injured.

FOX44 spoke with Mart City Manager Kevin Schaffer who says, "It is hard to prevent crazy people from doing crazy things. I think he just had an episode."

Schaffer applauds those utility workers for thinking safety first. 

Schaffer says he is glad no one was injured, "Obviously we are relieved that everyone was safe and thankfully the guy got out safe as well. I thought our guys did a good job of backing off and realizing it was kind of a unique situation."

McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara says about utility workers, "They were in uniform. They were marked. There was no question about who they were. They were not burglars." 

The sheriff says Gridley doesn't admit or can't remember firing gunshots even though they found a rifle and empty shell casings. He surrendered within minutes. 

The sheriff reminds property owners to be mindful of city employees doing their job and says there is no reason for hostility. 

"This is just a very reckless, careless act, and we just advise our citizens to please think before you do something like this and get jammed in this matter," McNamara says.

Schaffer adds the city employees needing to work on broken water lines have a right to get on property homeowners' land within 20 feet of either side of the line of easement. He says there is no reason for hostility as the city workers only need to do their job.  

The Mart mayor plans on sending a letter to property owners reminding them about the city's rights.

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