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Harvest Hope volunteer arrested in hit-and-run of State Guard soldier

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Staff Report
Published Oct. 9, 2015 (Updated 8:34 p.m. Oct. 11, 2015)

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department  has arrested a man wanted in Friday’s hit-and-run incident that injured a S.C. State Guard soldier directing traffic at Harvest Hope Food Bank.

Charles Kauffman, 72, of Columbia was charged with attempted murder and illegal acts during a State of Emergency. Arrested Saturday morning, Kauffman was being held Sunday night in Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center under a $75,000  bond.

According to Sheriff Leon Lott, Kauffman had been a volunteer at Harvest Hope, 2220 Shop Road, for three years.

The soldier, identified by the State Guard as Bob Kuenzli, was securing a distribution point when he was struck shortly before noon Friday by a vehicle that entered the traffic line.

As the driver left the line he twice disregarded the soldier’s directive to stop, Lott said.

From surveillance video it appeared the “suspect clearly and intentionally ran over the victim” and then fled the area, a news release said.

Kuenzli, a member of the all-volunteer militia’s Military Police unit, was transported to Dorn VA Medical Center where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries, authorities said.

A message posted on the S.C. State Guard’s Twitter account included a picture of the Kuenzli with his left arm in a sling.

S.C. State Guard soldiers were assisting with traffic control at Harvest Hope and many victims of this past weekend’s floods were “driving through an organized line to receive food and water,” the sheriff’s department said.

“It’s a sad state of affairs when you have someone like this committing such a crime,” Lott said after the incident. “We are all dealing with trying times these past several days, it is important to exercise patience and allow for cooler heads to prevail. Remember, first responders are there to assist, protect, and to help in every way possible.”

Formed in 1670, the State Guard is a citizen militia under the South Carolina Military Department, which is commanded by the adjutant general.

Since the state began mobilizing for the storm, more than 300 members of the State Guard have been called on to assist in a range of duties from traffic control to providing water at distribution centers.

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