Man charged with breaking windows at S. Carolina Statehouse

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A man was charged Sunday with breaking windows at the South Carolina Statehouse after he loudly confronted officers during an early-morning arrest.

The man was arrested around 4 a.m. Sunday morning by two law enforcement officers who encountered him on a routine patrol, according to a news release by Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Sherri Iacobelli. The officers first observed him walking down the steps of the Statehouse. The news release says the man began talking loudly and walking toward the officers with a 2×4 piece of wood in his hand.

The officers told him to stop and put the piece of wood down. The officers showed him a stun gun, but didn’t use it.

The suspect eventually complied with commands and was handcuffed. The news release said that he told them he’d broken windows on the east side of the Statehouse, near the entrance to the lieutenant governor’s office. Authorities say he also admitted to breaking windows of cars parked on a nearby street.

Ernest Rodney Thompson, 46, was charged with damage to state property and jailed. Jail records indicate he’s also being charged with disorderly conduct and damaging vehicles. No phone listing for Thompson could be found.

The Department of Public Safety didn’t know whether Thompson has a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.

The area near the damage has been blocked off in coordination with the Department of Administration, which oversees Statehouse repairs. The area was likely to be closed to visitors throughout Sunday.

Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant’s office didn’t immediately return a message Sunday seeking comment about whether there was damage inside their work space.

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