AG: Idaho sheriff charged after pulling gun on youth group leaving thank you notes

Investigators say Sheriff Craig Rowland aimed a gun at the group of girls,
dragged their adult chaperone from the car by her hair, and threatened to execute her.

The sheriff of Bingham County is facing felony charges after investigators say he pulled a gun on a group of girls, dragged their youth group leader out of her car by her hair, and threatened to shoot her while holding a gun to her head.

The Idaho Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday charged Sheriff Craig Rowland with aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and exhibition of a deadly weapon.

Rowland told Blackfoot Police Chief Scott Gay that he had “really screwed up” during the Nov. 9 confrontation, which happened after a youth group came to his door.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the seven girls, ages 12 to 16, were delivering paper “thankful turkeys” to people around the neighborhood as part of a youth group activity.

The girls would deliver the turkey thank-you notes by taping them to a recipient’s door, ringing the doorbell, and running away before the person inside could see who had left the note.

Rowland told investigators that at about 8 p.m., his Yorkie began to bark so he went outside and saw two people running away from his house.

According to the affidavit, the girls returned to their youth leader’s car giggling, and told her they had tried to leave the turkey, but had nearly been caught by Craig Rowland so had been unable to deliver it. The group delivered another “thankful turkey” to a house nearby, then returned to the sheriff’s home to try again.

Rowland told police that a few minutes after he had seen people running away from his house, his Ring doorbell activated and he heard his front door rattle.

The sheriff said he got his gun, and stepped outside wearing long johns and socks.