A Taneytown man who repeatedly rammed his pickup truck into City Hall Friday after having his water service cut off, according to officials, has been arrested and charged with multiple offenses.
Rodney Wayne Davis, 55, of the unit block of Crimson Avenue, is charged with one count of second-degree burglary, a felony, and one count each of second-degree assault, malicious destruction scheme of $1,000 in value or more, malicious destruction of property of $1,000 in value or more, and reckless endangerment, according to electronic court records.
Taneytown police arrested Davis at about 5:47 p.m. when they arrived at the municipal office at 17 E. Baltimore St. and found Davis’ blue Dodge Dakota pickup “halfway into the city office" and Davis still in the driver’s seat, according to charging documents. Multiple witnesses and video footage indicated that Davis had driven into the front of building and backed up to ram it again five times.
“City Hall suffered substantial damage. The entire waiting area and front office are completely destroyed,” Taneytown Mayor Bradley Wantz said Tuesday. “We are locating city employees in other city facilities as space is available. Our employees from the front office will be working out of the police department because we do have some offices there they can use.”
The mayor and council workshop meeting scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday will be held in the large meeting room on the second floor of the Taneytown Volunteer Fire Company at 39 E. Baltimore St., rather than the city office building.
Wantz published a statement on the incident Saturday, calling it “nothing less than a terroristic attack," and noting that Davis could have seriously injured people had they been present in the office at the time he drove into the building. Wantz wrote in the statement that he could not address Davis’ motive, but he did Tuesday.
“The instigating factor was that his water had been shut off by the city,” Wantz said. “That comes down to kind of a personal matter between he and the city and I can’t speak to what resolution has been reached in that matter.”
According to charging documents, Davis told Taneytown Councilman Joe Vigliotti what he was going to do during a phone call at about 5:45 p.m Friday. Davis told Vigliotti he had "had it and that he was going to f-----g crash into the office and that he was going to go down to the police department and give them a surprise,” according to the documents.
Vigliotti called Taneytown police after the call with Davis, at about 5:50 p.m., but the charging documents note police were being informed that Davis already had crashed his truck around that time.
Jacob Gruentzel, an information technology assistant with the city, was running maintenance on the city servers Friday when he heard “a loud crashing sound and felt the ground shake,” according to charging documents, and ran to the front of the building to see “a man in a dark blue pickup truck continuously ramming the front office.” Gruentzel returned to the server room and called 911.
Carroll County Breaking News
Several witnesses told police they saw Davis’ pickup truck traveling west on Baltimore Street before the pickup turned right and rammed into the city office building, with one witness telling police they saw the truck “reversing and running back and forth," with the smell of burning tires and wood smoke coming from the rubble at City Hall, according to the charging documents.
Another witness approached the truck and found “an older male who seemed very angry and upset,” according to charging documents. The witness told police the man, later identified as Davis, told the witness, “They turned my water off, I’m pissed, I got kids.”
According to security camera footage reviewed by Taneytown police, Davis’ truck could be seen traveling west on Baltimore Street when its right turn signal came on. The truck turned right, drove up on the sidewalk, hit a tree, and then crashed into the city office, according to charging documents. The truck then could be seen backing up and ramming the office a total of five times before pulling out halfway.
Davis was arrested on the scene and taken to Carroll County Detention Center, but was released Saturday after posting $250 of a $2,500 bail, according to electronic court records. He is due in Carroll County District Court on Sept. 26 for a preliminary hearing.
A call placed to the home phone number on record for Davis was not returned Tuesday.
Taneytown officials already have been discussing improved security for city employees in the wake of incidents like the May shooting rampage at a municipal building in Virginia Beach that left 12 people dead, Wantz said. Friday’s incident will push those talks to the forefront, he said.
“You are going to see substantial improvements to our security, to City Hall,” Wantz said. “Not necessarily as barriers for residents to interact, but ensuring the safety of the city employees.”