Idaho Sheriff Charged with Pulling a Gun on Seven Girls and Their Chaperone Is Asked to Resign By Prosecutor, Mayor, and Nearby Native American Tribe

An Idaho sheriff is being charged for pulling out a gun on seven young girls between the ages of 12 to 16 in November. He is charged with assaulting their church group leader and publicly threatening to shoot her in the head in front of the girls in an encounter on a residential street in Blackfoot, Idaho.

KTVB reports that on Dec. 14 the state’s Attorney General’s Office charged Sheriff Craig Rowland with aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and exhibition or use of a deadly weapon.

Sheriff Craig Rowland (right) – Credit: Credit: Bingham Co. Sheriff’s Office

In the state of Idaho, aggravated battery and aggravated assault are felonies, and the exhibition or use of a deadly weapon is a misdemeanor.

A probable cause affidavit revealed that the girls were participating in a service activity and were giving out paper “thankful turkeys” notes to the community in the southeastern Idaho town. The girls would tape the notes to the door of a neighbor, ring the doorbell, and run away before the person could see who left the thoughtful note.

Rowland was one of the neighbors to receive a “thankful turkey.”

He told the investigators that around 8 p.m. on Nov. 9 he heard his dog barking and he went to see if anyone was at his door. He then saw two individuals running away from his door. The girls had tried to deliver him a note.

A 10-page affidavit from the Blackfoot Police Department picks up the story from there. Police wrote that the girls were not able to deliver the secret note because Rowland had come to the door. They ran back to their group leader, who was waiting in her car. They were giggling as they shared their story and joined the other girls to continue to give out their paper turkeys. 

They went back to Rowland’s home and tried again to drop off the note.

Rowland’s story to law enforcement is different. He recalls that a few minutes after he saw the people running from his home, he heard his doorbell go off and someone was fiddling with his door. That is when he got his gun and came outside in his winter undergarments, a pair of long johns and socks.

By this time, the girls had gathered in their group leader Chelease Cox’s car and they were driving off. She noticed that Rowland was flagging them down, so she stopped.

The girls thought that he was joking. She told him that the girls were trying to leave something for his wife. 

At this time, Cox reports, the sheriff looked into the window of the car and pulled out his gun. He pointed first at her, then at the two girls sitting in the front seat passenger side, and then back at her, saying, “get the f- -k out of the car.”

As Cox put the car in park so she could comply with his request, he reached into the car, grabbed her by her hair, and dragged her from the car — in front of the girls who gave their blow-by-blow account to the investigators.

It is at this point, Cox remembers, him aiming the gun inches away from her forehead. He then asked who she was and told her that he would shoot her.

The chaperone tried to remind him that she was his longtime next-door neighbor and that she grew up in the house to the side of his home. She even said that she considered him a “family friend,” giving him her name.

Her story did not move him, according to Cox.

She told police, “That’s when I really got scared, because the gun was still at my head and he didn‘t know who I was.”

Rowland didn’t recognize her and told the police when they arrived that he had no idea who she was. He did say that he could tell that she was terrorized and he told her to “get the f- -k out of here.”

The affidavit also reveals that the sheriff did not deny his actions, telling them that he did pull her out of the car and pointed the gun at her head or neck.

Rowland admitted to drinking earlier but told police, “I had all of my facilities with me, I was clear as a freakin bell.”

This contradicts what he later told investigators about his adjustment to the time change. He told them that the time falling back actually really messed him up. He further admitted that he was agitated because he and his wife have had some unfavorable conflicts with the surrounding indigenous community.

He said, “I have been doing this job for 36 years. I’ve had drunk Indians drive down my cul-de-sac. I’ve had drunk Indians come to my door. I live just off the reservation, we have a lot of reservation people around us who are not good people.”

An official statement from the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes explains how offensive the sheriff’s statements regarding Native Americans were.

It read in part, “The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes are disappointed in Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland’s comments that hit the news media on December 15, 2021. The incident did not directly involve tribal community members, although Rowland made racist comments about the Fort Hall Reservation.”

It continued, “Members of the Fort Hall community disagree with Rowland’s statement including Chairman Devon Boyer, who states, ‘Rowland’s use of racial slurs about ‘Indians’ is extremely offensive.’ According to the Tribes Attorney, ‘Local law enforcement has a long history of violent criminal conduct towards tribal community members, stemming back decades. Race relations between local law enforcement has been controversial and sometimes violent.’

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, with over 6,000 tribal members, is not only the largest reservation in Idaho but in the southeast region. The statement reveals that the tribe does have power behind them, and is calling for his resignation.

They are not the only ones calling for his resignation.

The Associated Press reports that on Friday, Dec. 17, the Bingham County Prosecutor Paul Rogers and Blackfoot Mayor Marc Carroll called on Rowland to step away from his duties.

Footage captured on Sheriff Rowland’s Ring doorbell camera gave investigators a more accurate picture of what transpired that day.

In a step-by-step replay, it showed the girls taping the turkey to the door. It also shows them running away. It shows Rowland stepping out of his house, looking at the note, mouthing while he read the words “Thank you,” and then exclaiming, “That’s frickin’ bullsh–.”

He is then heard calling to his wife to get his gun. 

As of publishing, Rowland has not entered his plea on the charges.

More news from our partners:

‘Why Did They Protect Betsy DeVos?’: Federal Marshals Deny Request for Security Detail to First Black U.S. Attorney In Massachusetts Despite Direct Death Threats

Surprise, Surprise: Jersey Shore Town Beats Florida Locales as Zillow Retirement Hotspot

FAMU Believes They’re The Black College National Champions | Ranks Rattlers No. 1 In Final Power Ranking

Back to top