A Sedalia man has been charged with the harassment of a Pettis County deputy.
Wayne A. Gravitt, of the 800 block of North Moniteau Avenue, has been charged with felony second-degree harassment after following and threatening a Pettis County deputy.
According to court documents, a deputy was off duty at his Smithton residence June 17. When the deputy left with his child in the vehicle, he noticed a white pickup truck following him. The deputy said the vehicle followed him from his Smithton residence to the 1000 block of South Barrett Avenue in Sedalia, which is approximately 14 miles.
The deputy said while he and his child were walking into the residence on South Barrett Avenue, he observed the same white pickup truck, according to court documents.
The deputy identified the driver as Gravitt, someone the deputy had previously arrested, and said there was another male in the passenger seat. According to court documents, the deputy said Gravitt allegedly pointed his hand in the shape of a gun toward the deputy and his child and made hand gestures as if he was shooting.
A few moments later Gravitt parked in front of the residence. As the deputy, his child and the two residents walked inside the home, he observed Gravitt allegedly recording the deputy with a phone, according to court documents. Gravitt then allegedly asked the deputy, “You like killing people?” and “we will get you” and again pointed his hand at the deputy and made gun sounds.
The deputy returned inside while Gravitt remained outside recording. The deputy requested a Pettis County deputy escort him out of the area.
“(Mr. Gravitt) followed one of my deputies from his residence for several miles into Sedalia and then videotaped him, made gestures and comments that were from a threatening nature to both him and his juvenile child,” Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond told the Democrat. “He continued circling the area, those types of things which required law enforcement response from the sheriff’s office, the Sedalia police and the highway patrol. By the time they arrived the vehicle was already gone but we were able to continue with the investigation and then were able to submit for charges on the case.”
The Pettis County Sheriff’s Office spoke with a neighbor who knows Gravitt and observed Gravitt’s actions. The neighbor stated Gravitt told them he was “out to get him,” referring to the deputy, according to court documents.
On June 22, the sheriff’s office spoke with the resident of the South Barrett residence. The resident stated the same truck continued to drive past their residence on several occasions, according to court documents. The resident also captured a video that shows the truck driving past the residence and stopping.
It was later confirmed Gravitt had rented the white vehicle from a rental company.
“Mr. Gravitt, allegedly or through investigation, rented a vehicle allegedly for the purposes of not being able to be detected,” Bond said.
Bond said Gravitt had assumed the deputy was the deputy who shot and killed 25-year-old Hannah Fizer, of Sedalia, after she allegedly claimed to have a gun and threatened to shoot the deputy during a traffic stop June 13 in Sedalia.
“He (the deputy) was being singled out as being the deputy that was responsible and since that time we’ve had other deputies that have been named as being the person responsible,” Bond said. “Those actions are dangerous, detrimental and certainly impede our ability to be able to handle calls for service and be effective, which prompted my letter to the citizens.”
On June 18, Bond released an open letter to the citizens of Pettis County regarding the issue. Bond said some had taken the letter as him not approving of protesting.
“It (the letter) has nothing to do with protesting,” Bond explained. “A person has a constitutional right to protest and I have no problem with people expressing their ability to do that. However, when protesting or anything else turns to criminal activity, I will not tolerate that going on.
“So whether it be, you know, property damage, or rioting, or in this case targeting people with little knowledge about what actually is occurring, then I’m not going to tolerate that and we’re going to pursue charges to the fullest extent of the law,” he continued.
Gravitt has an arraignment at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Pettis County Courthouse.