SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SC (WYFF) The Spartanburg County Sheriff is known for speaking his mind, and at a news conference on Monday, he didn't hold back his anger and frustration after a woman was attacked in a park over the weekend.
Investigators said 46-year-old Walter Lance grabbed a woman who was walking her dog in Milliken Park on Sunday afternoon. They said Lance choked the woman, made her take off her clothing and tried to rape her. Lance is in custody and was denied bond on Monday.
Sheriff Chuck Wright opened his news conference by saying, "Our form of justice is not making it."
He said, "Carry a concealed weapon. That'll fix it."
Wright said Lance had been charged numerous times with crimes against women, and other crimes such as resisting arrest and escape. Wright said Lance had been on probation for a federal gun charge.
He referred to Lance repeatedly as an "animal," and expressed his disgust about Lance's long record and the attack.
Wright said Lance has had more than 20 charges dating back to 1983.
Wright said Lance has been in jail more often than he has, and he runs the jail, and he said Lance gets out easier. Wright punctuated it by saying, "And I'm aggravated."
He said he doesn't believe every person needs to be kept in jail, but he said, "I don't think this animal deserves to be out in our society, walking alongside our women."
Wright said,"Liberals call me and tell me the chain-gang form of justice isn't working. Well, let me inform you, your form of justice isn't working either."
He said Lance should not have had the right or opportunity to "violate a good, upstanding woman."
"This is a horrific crime," Wright said. "Her life was threatened so many times."
He said Lance "doesn't fight police or men folk -- he just goes after women." He said Lance is not married because, "No woman can stay married to him because he beats them down too much."
Wright said, "It's too bad someone with a concealed weapons permit didn't walk by. That would fix it." He said people are tired of doing the right thing and criminals getting away with their actions.He said several times, "I want you to get a concealed weapons permit."
At one point, Wright held up a fanny pack and said, "They make this right here where you can conceal a small pistol in them. They got one called The Judge that shoots a .45 or a .410 shell. You ain't got to be accurate; you just have to get close."
Wright said, "I'm tired of looking at victims saying, 'There's life after this' … I'm tired of saying, 'We're sorry, we can't keep them in jail.'"
Wright said in his view, gun control is, "Is when you can get your barrel back on the target quick. That's gun control."
Wright said the attack is not the fault of Milliken Park. He said, "It's a nice place for families."
He said officers patrol the area all the time and respond to various calls there. He said, "Don't blame anyone for having an animal on their property … We can't get it all."
He encouraged women to walk in groups, and he ended by saying again, "I want you to get a concealed weapons permit. Don't get Mace. Get a firearm.
"And then he said, "I think I better stop before I get sanctioned."