Former Sheriff charged in Jackson parade incident

Published 4:17 pm Thursday, December 15, 2022

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JACKSON – Charges have been filed against the man who displayed a shotgun to middle school students prior to the start of the Jackson Christmas Parade.

Jackson Police Chief John Young told the News Herald that warrants were served today (Thursday) to John Wood Sr. in reference to the incident which occurred on Dec. 10.

“He was charged by a citizen with assault by pointing a gun, and charged by the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office with disorderly conduct and communicating threats,” Young said.

Wood, who served as the Northampton County Sheriff more than 30 years ago, received a $1,500 unsecured bond and was released until his court date.

The incident occurred on Saturday just as band students from Conway Middle School were getting off the bus and warming up their instruments to participate in the annual Christmas parade. According to Chief Young, the man – now identified as Wood – asked the students to be quiet. He then went inside and came back out with a shotgun.

A Jackson Police officer was posted at the scene to ensure safety during the parade and Young began investigating the incident. At the time, however, he did not have enough information to file charges. The investigation continued this week in collaboration with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office and the SBI.

During the investigation, Young encouraged anyone who witnessed the incident to come give a written statement. He stated that a citizen who was there helping coordinate set-up for the parade came forward with additional information.

“That was the first time we had someone come forward and say he pointed the gun at her,” Young explained. “We advised her, if that’s what happened, to go ahead and take out the charge.”

“The other two charges came from the collaboration of the Sheriff’s Office, the SBI, and our department as to what he should be properly charged with fitting the elements of the law,” he continued.

Young noted that they did not show any favoritism to Wood, a former law enforcement officer.

“We treated him just like we would anybody else,” he explained. “We feel very good about our outcome, particularly after working with the SBI. We feel we have performed our due diligence to the public.”

Young thanked Northampton County Sheriff Jack Smith and his office for providing a detective to help as well as the SBI for all their assistance. He also noted that the staff at Conway Middle School was very helpful and accommodating when they conducted interviews for additional information.

He also said he greatly appreciated all the citizens who came forward to provide statements during the investigation.

“It helped us tremendously in coming to a resolution in this case. We couldn’t have done it without the public coming to us and giving us those statements,” he concluded.

A previous statement from Northampton County Schools reported that all students were safe and unharmed during the incident, and that crisis counselors were available to any students who may have need of them.