A 46-year-old Cloverdale man is facing felony charges after allegedly showing up at a bus stop with a shotgun and attempting to enter a school bus while carrying it.
In an incident occurring Dec. 6 -- more than a week before the tragic events in Newtown, Conn., have again thrust schools and guns into the spotlight -- Henry T. Tillberry Jr. reportedly possessed shotgun at the school bus stop and then attempted to enter a Cloverdale Community School Corporation bus.
There were six students and driver Dennis Flory on board the bus at the time of the 7:03 a.m. incident at what is known as the Tillberry/Casteel stop.
Court records indicate Tillberry did not display the firearm in a threatening manner, keeping it at his side. He left peacefully after his conversation with the bus driver, court documents added.
The Putnam County Prosecutor's Office has filed a charge of attempted possession of a firearm on a school bus, a Class D felony. A Class D felony is punishable by imprisonment from six months to three years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Tillberry made an initial appearance in Putnam Superior Court Monday afternoon with Judge Denny Bridges entering a not guilty plea on his behalf.
Tillberry, who was picked up on an arrest warrant at 10:10 a.m. Monday, was released from the Putnam County Jail on $10,000 bond (10 percent allowable) at 6 p.m. Monday.
At the state's request, Judge Bridges issued a no-contact order against Tillberry in regard to both the school and the school bus.
Appearing before Judge Bridges, Tillberry said he was carrying the shotgun because he "had issues" with a neighbor's pit bulls. The defendant said as soon as he would be able to speak with Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter, the issue would "be squashed."
According to the probable cause affidavit, school bus driver Flory advised that Tillberry "started to get on the bus with the shotgun," and Flory told him "he could not get on the bus with it."
Tillberry reportedly told the bus driver he wanted "to discuss a prior incident between the Tillberry children and the Casteel children."
The probable cause affidavit also notes that bus security video shows a person standing at the bus doors with one foot on the bottom step before being ordered not to board with the gun.
"A conversation ensued between Mr. Tillberry and Mr. Flory," it continues, "whereas Tillberry explained that he wanted Flory to start picking his child up at a different location due to an incident with neighbors."
After informing Flory of that request, Tillberry was told by the bus driver "not to bring a gun to the bus stop again."
The probable cause states that Tillberry claimed "he had no choice because he had to protect himself from the Casteels' dogs."
Flory told Putnam County Sheriff's Department Det. Pat McFadden that he had never seen the Casteels' dogs at the bus stop, however, he has seen Tillberry's dogs at the site.
Tilberry is due back in court for an 8:30 a.m. pretrial conference on Feb. 13.