Investigation ongoing, security measures to come
CLEMSON — An 18-year-old North Carolina man is out on bail after his Friday morning arrest in connection with the defacement of Howard’s Rock, the Death Valley icon honored by Clemson football players running onto the field for nearly 40 years.
Clemson University police arrested Micah Rogers, 18, of Pisgah Forest, N.C. Rogers appeared in the university’s Municipal Court shortly after his arrest and was released on a personal recognizance bond of $5,470.
Capt. Eric Hendricks of the Clemson University Police Department said during a Friday afternoon news conference at the Hendrix Student Center that the department would not release Rogers’ home address or date of birth, given the high-charged reaction of Tigers fans over the incident.
“It is in the interest of his safety,” Hendricks said.
Rogers is charged with one felony — malicious injury to animals or personal property valued at more than $2,000, but less than $10,000; and one misdemeanor — trespassing, unlawful entry into enclosed places.
Investigators were commended by a university official for their work.
“On behalf of the athletic department and the football coaches and players, I want to thank the Clemson University Police Department, the State Law Enforcement Division and the Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office for acting in a swift, thorough manner with regards to the vandalism to Howard’s Rock,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said. “We appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in this case.”
Hendricks stressed repeatedly, however, that the investigation is ongoing. He declined to say how many more suspects there may be in the case or close they are to more arrests. He also refused to reveal what, if any, information investigators may have gleaned from Rogers.
Video released by the university last week showed three passengers in a 1993 Ford F250 truck pulling up next to Memorial Stadium on the night of June 2, and returning shortly thereafter in an apparently celebratory mood before pulling away.
The Rock vandal suspect arrested
The protective casing was destroyed and a portion of the rock was chipped away. The broken portion of the rock has not been recovered yet, and the investigation is ongoing.
Hendricks said investigators traced ownership of the truck back to the suspect’s father, with help from an unidentified witness within the last week.
He would not discuss or speculate about motive, but he did say investigators noticed Clemson Tiger paraphernalia at Rogers’ home.
Rogers' attorney, Frank Eppes, told the Associated Press that Rogers recognized his truck from the video footage and called the attorney last week and they agreed to meet with police this week.
Eppes said it wasn't time to discuss any details of the case, including what role Rogers had in the vandalism. He did ask people to respect the privacy of Rogers' family.