Local Politics

Trouble continues to find former lawmaker

Posted February 28, 2011 1:40 p.m. EST
Updated February 28, 2011 7:19 p.m. EST

— R.C. Soles was in the public eye for four decades, representing the southeastern corner of the state in the General Assembly. In retirement, he is attracting unwanted attention.

Tabor City police responded to a disturbance at Soles' home late Saturday and chased off a man three times. Police identified the man as B.J. Wright, a former legal client of Soles.

Soles fired a shot at Wright once during the incident, and two officers were injured in the chases, police said.

"The door opened from inside. A hand came out of the doorway, and a shot was fired," Tabor City Police Capt. Dean Foley said of Soles' role in the incident.

Wright eventually jumped into Lake Tabor, police said, and officers lost track of him. They found only his clothes left behind.

"We assume he was pretty much like he was born that day," Foley said.

Police continued to search Monday for Wright, 24. Warrants have been issued for his arrest on charges of trespassing, damage to property and fleeing police.

Wright has been involved in previous incidents at the former lawmaker's home.

He and a friend, Kyle Blackburn, were beating on Soles' front door in August 2009 when Soles opened fire and shot Blackburn in the leg.

Soles maintained he was trying to defend himself, but he pleaded guilty a year ago to a misdemeanor charge of assault with a deadly weapon and paid a $1,000 fine.

Last month, police arrested Wright outside Soles' home and charged him with vandalism.

"B.J. is the No. 1 person we get calls on right now," Foley said, noting others have been known to sneak onto Soles' secluded property by following dirt roads and trails through adjacent woods.

Soles came under scrutiny two years ago for providing financial support to troubled young men. Foley said that, to his knowledge, that practice has stopped, but Soles told him that he does try to help some people who he's helped over the years.

The 76-year-old Democrat didn't seek re-election last year. He had been the longest-serving member of the General Assembly.