CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Clay County man was arrested after allegedly assaulting a veteran television news reporter covering a story near Bomont.
WCHS-TV reporter Bob Aaron, 67, was recovering from the incident Monday evening. He suffered a deep tissue bruise to his left leg and a lacerated finger.
State Police in Clay County wouldn’t provide any information on the matter but WCHS-TV reported that troopers arrested Howard Lilly of Bomont Monday night. He was charged with destruction of property, grand larceny and malicious wounding.
Aaron said he received a tip on Facebook Monday about neglected horses and mules in Clay County. He had the address of a home on Bomont Road near an old post office near Bomont and a name. He said normally he wouldn’t have gone without some type of verification but he thought he’d been to that area before.
The place he was looking for was a little further out than he thought, he said, but when he arrived there were indeed horses and mules on the property. He said he couldn’t see the animals well enough to determine if they were in fact malnourished, but that a few of them did look thin.
He said there had been no place to pull off the road or turn around other than a gated driveway. He set up his tripod and camera on the road, which is public property.
“I got a wide shot and was getting ready to zoom in when the guy comes charging down the road,” Aaron said. “He said ‘The sheriff was already out here. There’s nothing to take pictures of. You need to get on down the road.’”
Aaron said he told the man he was on public property and would leave after he’d finished with the video. He said the man then grabbed at his camera equipment. Aaron grabbed his camera off the tripod but the man grabbed the tripod and swung it at him.
“He hit me with my tripod,” Aaron said. “It’s like basically being hit with a metal rod.”
Aaron was struck at least once. His camera also was struck. The lens was “totally smashed” and the device lost audio in the fight.
He asked the man to return his tripod but the man refused. Aaron called for police, but was told there wasn’t anyone in the immediate area who could respond. He drove himself to the State Police detachment in Big Otter where he filed a report…