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2016-04-14

Obscene graffiti stuns Medina community

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

BCSO photo
This shows just one portion of the graffiti that had been tagged on buildings on the Medina school campus.



A local vandal might possibly have shown remorse for his obscene acts of tagging at a local high school, but his guilty conscience came a little too late.
Deputies with the Bandera County Sheriff’s Office arrested Wyatt Gruver, 17, of Medina, at 7:30 pm, Friday, April 8, according to Chief Deputy Matt King in an interview on Monday, April 11. The crime had been solved in record time, having been reported to 9-1-1 only that morning. Two other juveniles were also allegedly involved in the acts of vandalism, King noted.
Obscene graffiti and other tags that included religious slurs had been spray painted in orange throughout the Medina School complex, located on Stringtown Road. The sign to the secondary school received a double dose of graffiti and the outside of the gymnasium was also defaced.
“During the investigation, deputies found a side door to the gym unsecured, but fortunately nothing was painted or vandalized inside the building,” King said. He estimated cleanup and paint removal would run Medina Independent School District $5,000.
Interestingly, King credited social media with identifying and outing the trio of former MISD students, who had allegedly committed the vandalism. Three youths – two minor female siblings and Gruver – were questioned in connection with the crime.
“Unfortunately for him, Mr. Gruver had turned 17 just a few weeks ago and he was charged as an adult,” King explained. “The underage girls, whose names cannot be disclosed, were referred to Bandera County Juvenile Probation and eventually released to the custody of their mother.”
Explaining the lead-up to the crime, King said that apparently all three students allegedly involved had transferred from Medina High School to Bandera High School just a few days before the incident. “Mr. Gruver was living with the girls and their mother and the family had relocated to Bandera from Medina. Consequently, the three teenagers enrolled at BHS,” King said.
The day after the graffiti incident, which had occurred in the early morning hours of last Friday, the names of the three former students purportedly involved were apparently “all over” Facebook and other social media, according to King.
“Medina ISD Superintendent Penny White had given the investigating officer a list of five suspects, which apparently included the names of the three students – one of whom was eventually arrested and charged with the crime,” King said. The deputies also learned the identity of the possible suspects from other students.
Additionally, BHS personnel noticed that Gruver had orange paint on his hand and arms. According to King, after confessing to their involvement in the crime to an administrator at BHS, the three suspects left school early on Friday and went back to Medina High School where they reiterated their confession, this time to a MSH administrator.
“I think they had become remorseful about what they had done,” King postulated. “My opinion is that Mr. Gruver thought if they could clean up the mess, there wouldn’t be an arrest.” Unfortunately for him, Gruver had thought wrong, and the wheels of justice were already in motion.
After a warrant was issued, Gruver was arrested and transported to the Bandera County Jail where he remains on $8,000 bond. Cpl. Kasey Young handled the investigation.
After hearing about the incident, one Bandera County resident – and mother – suggested that the three students involved in the tagging be required to clean up the graffiti. “It would save the school district money and the youths wouldn’t necessarily be saddled with a criminal conviction for the rest of their lives,” she said. "Something like that can ruin the lives of young people."
On the other hand a post on the Facebook page, Bandera County Speaks, noted: “Vandalism at Medina High School again this morning. Bad words all over in Huge letters. It’s time these fools were dealt with. An elderly lady’s mailbox on my road was destroyed about a week ago. Old Timer had a rock through its window. Vandalism to vehicles in the water tower area. Too much damage to our little town.”