SWAN QUARTER, N.C. – Authorities say a man assaulted a cousin of Gov. Roy Cooper and a North Carolina wildlife official, ranted at them with slurs and threats and accused them of hunting in his duck blind.
The Hyde County Sheriff's Office said 29-year-old Jarrod Thomas Umphlett faces multiple charges, including assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
An incident report says Umphlett's boat rammed a boat carrying John Clark Purvis Sr. and Wildlife Resources Commission member Richard Edwards on Dec. 16. The impact knocked Edwards over, according to the report.
Umphlett boarded the boat, hit Purvis in the back of the head with his fist, also hit him on the shoulder and yelled racial slurs multiple times, the report said. All three men are white. The report says Umphlett threatened to "crush your skull in this lake."
Purvis told deputies he pointed his shotgun at Umphlett to get him to stop his attack. The report said Purvis was bruised and had a bump on his head but was not seriously injured.
The men also said as they were leaving the lake that Umphlett told them he would kill them if they came back, according to the report.
It's not known if Umphlett has an attorney. Deputies said when they went to his home to question him, Umphlett used the racial slurs multiple times again to refer to the men, whom he also called "rich pretty white boys." He also told authorities he got no closer than 15 feet to the other boat and that the men were trying to run away when he saw them.
"Duck hunting has always been a gentlemen's sport and it needs to remain this way," Purvis said. He called the incident an "unfortunate event" and "traumatic."
The sheriff's office said Umphlett was also charged in a similar incident Dec. 27 when he and another man confronted a man and his son on the same lake. The report on that incident said Umphlett again used racial slurs even though the man and his son were white. The man said the harassment continued until he and his son left to hunt at a different location.