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Chickaloon man charged with threatening rafters in distress

  • Author: Chris Klint
  • Updated: July 26, 2016
  • Published July 26, 2016

A group of more than a dozen rafters, including children, were threatened by a man holding a knife when they ran into trouble Monday near Chickaloon, troopers said.

Chickaloon resident Bruce Harrison, 56, also pushed a raft holding children into the current without their guide, troopers said in a Tuesday dispatch. He was arrested on a dozen counts of assault plus six counts of reckless endangerment.

According to AST spokeswoman Megan Peters, nobody reported any injuries.

Troopers said the Nova River Runners rafting party, riding four rafts along the Chickaloon River, called to report the confrontation with Harrison at about 1:15 p.m. Monday. Nova staff said Tuesday that the group included 15 passengers, a number of them juveniles, and four guides.

One of the rafts overturned after striking an object in the river, troopers said, dumping its occupants into the water. Harrison approached the group as guides were securing the other three rafts on the river's east side.

"Harrison was yelling and swearing about the rafters trespassing," troopers wrote. "Harrison had a knife and contacted the people in two of the rafts, which had pulled along the bank, threatening to cut the boats. Those boats pushed off into deeper water to get away from Harrison."

When a guide tried to explain the situation to Harrison, troopers said, he pointed the knife at the guide and "continued threatening the rafters."

"Harrison approached a third raft, with five juveniles on board, which had been tied off to a tree," troopers wrote. "Harrison untied the boat from the tree. The juveniles, some crying, were pleading with Harrison to not untie the raft, stating they did not have a guide on board and they could not control the raft in the fast water. Harrison kicked the raft out into the fast water."

A guide was able to swim to the raft from shore, troopers said, taking control of it before it reached rapids in the area.

Nova River Runners declined to discuss the incident in detail pending notification of all juvenile rafters' parents.

A statewide inmate database listed Harrison in custody at the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility on Tuesday morning, with court records indicating he was scheduled to be arraigned later in the day.

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