An estimated 1,000 rounds of gunfire disrupted a ground breaking ceremony for a Clover PSD waterline extension last week, according to Spencer Newspapers.

The outdoor ceremony was being held outside at the Otto Advent Christian Church, and was attended by USDA officials, PSD board members, county commissioners and local citizens.

While Bobby Lewis, State Director of USDA Rural Development, was attempting to speak, the nearby gunfire interrupted his comments several times.

Roane commissioner David Boothe said when the gunfire first started, "I about hit the dirt."

PSD chairman Jim Ward told Spencer Newspapers the gunfire was a disruption to the ceremony for about a half hour.

Police responded to the scene shortly after the ceremony ended and went to the residence of William Groves, where they found Groves and two other men with semi-automatic assault rifles.

Groves, a former Roane County magistrate, did not appear to be breaking any law, although Spencer Newspapers reported ironically Groves had petitioned the county commission to adopt an ordinance against noise pollution.

Groves told officials he did not intend to disrupt the groundbreaking ceremony, but PSD chairman Ward told the paper the PSD had problems with him in the past regarding the water project.

"He doesn't want the water and he doesn't want anyone else to have it ... so I guess this was his way of saying this is a waste of taxpayers money," Ward said.

Groves had been involved in an earlier controversy when he was a candidate for the House of Delegates, when ATV riders claimed he fired a gun in their direction, but Groves denied the problem, according to Spencer Newspapers.

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