Update: Crossbow attack on meteorologist follows history of harassment

Becky Campbell • Jun 4, 2012 at 11:17 PM

A Johnson City man charged with shooting a local TV weatherman with a crossbow early Monday morning also vandalized the man’s car and threatened to kill him during previous encounters, according to court documents.

Those details were included in a petition for order of protection filed by Robert William Batot, 43, in which he asks a judge to keep Gerald D. Taylor, 53, from staying at the Ashworth Court home they shared and from going to Batot’s workplace.

Batot, known professionally as Rob Williams, works as a meteorologist at WJHL Channel 11.

Taylor is charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated burglary and violation of an order of protection.

The attack on Williams occurred sometime before 4 a.m. Monday. Police said Taylor broke into the house through a window and shot Williams with the crossbow, then shot at him with a 9 mm pistol as Williams tried to run from the house.

According to police, Williams had a crossbow bolt, which is the arrow used when firing the weapon, sticking from his chest when they arrived on scene.

Williams told police that Taylor ran from the residence after firing the weapons. Police found him sitting on a dock below the house with the pistol in his hand.

In a news release, police said there was a brief stand-off with Taylor, and officers used a taser on him to get him into custody.

According to the order of protection Williams filed in May, Taylor had previously vandalized his car by slashing the tires and putting water in the gas tank. Williams also stated that Taylor threatened to destroy his life and slander his name and threatened to kill Williams, then himself.

Earlier in the day on Monday, WJHL News Director John Soares would neither confirm nor deny Williams’ involvement in the shooting. Johnson City Police Department Lt. Steve Sherfey, however, confirmed the victim’s identity, and Williams later posted a statement on his Facebook page about the incident.

On the news station’s website, Williams thanked everyone for their concern as he recovers and said he is working with police investigators on the case. Williams said he will return to the air soon.

Taylor was jailed at the Washington County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing. He will be arraigned on the charges this morning.

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