A Buford man is facing state and federal charges after authorities say he attempted to take the law into his own hands Saturday night by firing shots at lake visitors he believed were involved in illegal activity.
Norbert Samuel Blades, 71, was charged with aggravated assault and reckless conduct in connection with the incident that reportedly took place around 7 p.m. at Toto Creek Park in eastern Dawson County.
He is also required to appear before a federal judge in Gainesville on a separate citation for possession and discharge of a firearm on U.S. Corps of Engineer managed property, according to Natural Resources Manager Nick Baggett.
He confirmed Blades was a volunteer campground host, which means he performs duties such as emptying the trash, cleaning the bathrooms and opening the gates in exchange for being able to live at the park.
"When the incident was reported to us, we sent a federal park ranger up to the campground to talk to Mr. Blades, also to talk to the Dawson County sheriff's department, to do the initial investigation," Baggett said. "We do not authorize any type of weapons or loaded firearms on corps property, either by our staff, our volunteers, campground hosts or the general public."
Blades' service as the campground host was also terminated, according to Baggett.
Dawson County Sheriff's spokesman Capt. Tony Wooten said officers responded to the report of shots being fired at a vehicle at the lake park.
"The reason for him discharging the firearm was that the park host believed there was illegal drug activity that may have been going on," Wooten said. "But rather than calling the 9-1-1 line, he took matters into his own hands, followed the vehicle and fired shots at the direction of the white Ford Explorer that was occupied with at least two people at the time."
No one was injured in the incident and the bullets did not hit the SUV.
No other arrests were made.
Baggett said he wanted to assure the public that the incident, which remains under investigation, was isolated.
"I haven't heard of an incident like this in my career. This is something that's very rare," he said. "It's not something that happens very frequently, and when something like this does happen, the corps will address it swiftly."