Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Public Safety

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Public Safety

Article excerpt

CLAY COUNTY

County Commissioner Buddy Griffin and an Orange Park man got

into a fight Sunday afternoon while both were hunting with bows

and arrows in a state wildlife management area south of Green

Cove Springs.

"The incident was reported around 6:50 p.m. in the Bayard

Management Area off County Road 226," said Lt. Dan Smith of the

Clay County Sheriff's Office.

"Commissioner Griffin was apparently in his tree stand when

Eric Crabtree came walking past and, apparently, Buddy tried to

signal [whistled] to him that he was up there to get him to go a

different route."

That's where the stories begin to differ.

Crabtree, 31, told deputies Griffin, 49, began shouting

profanities at him and stated, "Boy, you're some kind of

sportsman."

According to a report Crabtree filed with the Sheriff's Office,

he "made a few comments" to Griffin, although nothing profane,

and continued along the same path past the tree stand.

Crabtree said Griffin climbed down from the tree and chased him

several hundred yards. When Griffin caught up with him, Crabtree

said, Griffin stated: "Man, don't mess with me. I know kung fu."

He said Griffin then pushed him and they began fighting.

According to Griffin, when he told Crabtree he was "some kind

of sportsman," the man cursed at him and told him that just

because he was a county commissioner he didn't own the woods.

When he climbed down from the tree and approached the man,

Griffin said, he told him: "Fellow, do you want to cuss me now?"

He said Crabtree pushed him and began kicking at him and "using

karate."

Griffin said he then hit Crabtree in retaliation. After a brief

fight, Griffin said he began to walk away when he saw Crabtree

start to nock an arrow against his bowstring.

"Mr. Griffin said he thought Mr. Crabtree might attempt to

shoot him with the arrow, so he grabbed the arrow from Mr.

Crabtree," the police report said. …

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