WNC priest arrested on aggravated assault charges

 

WNC priest arrested on aggravated assault charges

Author: 

George Conger

The Florida Highway Patrol has released dashboard camera videos detailing the arrest on 5 July 2017 of the Rev. W. Rian Adams, rector Calvary Episcopal Church in Arden, North Carolina, on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The video, obtained by the Palm Beach Post, shows troopers questioning Fr. Adams, and taking him into custody, after he was accused of threatening a man and woman with his pistol during a “road rage” incident on the Florida Turnpike between Palm City and Port St Lucie, Florida.

The complainants, Sharon Hughes (54) and her son Christopher (24) alleged that Fr. Adams cut in front of their pickup truck in his red 2014 corvette, and then pressed his brakes, causing them to stop short. They further state that when they pulled level with Hughes he pulled a pistol and aimed it at them, prompting Christopher to throw his soft drink at the priest’s car.

Fr. Adams (35) disputes the charges, saying the Hughes were tailgating him in their vehicle, and threw a coke bottle at him as they passed him in the right lane, for not driving as fast as they thought he should go.

The Diocese of Western North Carolina priest admitted to state troopers that he had a pistol in his car, and that he carried a concealed weapon permit. Troopers arrested Fr. Adams, as the Hughes' description of the gun they say was pointed at them, a black automatic, matched the gun he was lawfully carrying a Glock 22 40-caliber pistol.

“Fr. Rian is on leave for a few weeks allowing him to focus on his family,” The parish newsletter reported “Fr. Rian is on leave for a few weeks allowing him to focus on his family,” and asked parishioners to “refrain from gossip or judgment and to hold him and his family in prayer.”

On July 12, the Diocese of Western North Carolina released a statement from the Rt. Rev. Jose McLoughlin saying Fr. Adams and his family were receiving “pastoral care.”

Before accepting a call to Calvary Church, Fr. Adams was Associate Rector at Christ Church Frederica on St. Simons Island. Before he was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, Fr. Adams served served as a U.S. Air Force Chaplain where he attained the rank of Captain. A recipient of the Bronze Star, Rian left the military as the result of a combat injury he received while in Afghanistan, and served as Senior Protestant Chaplain at Edwards Air Force Base at the time he left active duty.

No status hearing has been scheduled with the Martin County Court on Fr. Adams’ arrest, and he remains free on bond. A police spokesman stated they were continuing their investigation.

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