By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Although Escambia County Sheriff’s Office investigators don’t have much to go on, they are still working to find out who fired several gunshots at an area crop duster’s airplane, hitting it at least three times.
“We have an open case on it; we’ve got an investigator assigned to it,” Sheriff Heath Jacksons said this week. “We’re trying to figure it out. We don’t have a lot to go on, but we’re going to work on it and see what we can come up with.”
Marcus Crutchfield reported that his plane was hit by gunfire while he was spraying crops just outside Atmore and just north of Interstate 65, on May 20.
“They don’t know exactly when it got shot or how,” the sheriff said. “They don’t know exactly what happened or when it happened.”
Crutchfield wasn’t able to help in that regard. He didn’t realize that his plane had been hit until he landed and saw the bullet holes in the aircraft’s fuselage.
He estimated the shooting took place between 6:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Crutchfield indicated on his Facebook page that the incident was a little unsettling.
“To the person who did this, or to anyone who thinks this is appropriate, please take into consideration that I have a family at home that I want to come home to, too,” he posted. “I’m an individual whose job just so happens to be applying chemicals at low levels with an airplane.”
He added that crop dusters and other agricultural pilots take extra care to make sure they and the people on the ground are not injured by their work, so such an occurrence is hard to understand.
“As ag pilots, we take our jobs very seriously,” he wrote. “We take precautions in every field and in every pass to ensure the safety of people around the fields as well as ourselves. With that being said, we do our absolute best to take care of our local farmers and farmers across the country.”
Anyone with information that could be helpful in solving the mysterious shooting is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 251-809-2154). Someone with such information can also contact Tammy Smith, Gentry Smith, or Crutchfield on their respective Facebook pages.