Beaufort News

Hilton Head man in mental health facility after threatening former mayoral candidate

A 51-year-old man who last week allegedly sent threatening e-mails to a former Hilton Head Island mayoral candidate was committed to Beaufort Memorial Hospital's mental health facility after he was determined to be a threat to the public, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office report.

The Hilton Head Island man, who a family member said suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, had sent several threatening messages to Tom Crews, an island architect who lost in a runoff last year to Drew Laughlin in the race for Hilton Head mayor.

The man has not been charged with a crime.

Crews alerted the Sheriff's Office to the e-mails Friday afternoon, which he began to receive Tuesday in an e-mail account he created during the mayoral race. The writer identified himself, but Crews said he had never met the man, the report said.

Crews told deputies the e-mails "made no sense," varied in length and topic and continued through the week. Crews called deputies after he read one that said: "People who have betrayed my father and myself deserve to die."

The messages also were addressed to several island real estate agents and other local residents.

Deputies went to the man's home. The man, who was cooperative, told deputies he suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and had not taken his prescribed medication for at least three days, the report said.

He told deputies he had "no intention" of harming anyone or himself, but that he wanted people to know about his father's business. He said he would schedule an appointment to visit his doctor this week, the report said.

Deputies watched the man take a prescribed dose of his medication and left the home, stating in the report that the man did not appear to be a threat to the general public.

At about 8 a.m. Saturday, the man's brother contacted the Sheriff's Office because he said that his brother "could become violent" when he wasn't taking his medication, the report said.

He showed deputies another e-mail his brother had written to Crews that stated there were people who "deserved to be shot and killed." He asked that deputies take his brother to the hospital for an evaluation, the report said.

Deputies transported him to Beaufort Memorial, where he was evaluated and deemed a threat. He was required to remain in the hospital.