Neighbor of Thaxton shooter says Flint "has a lot of emotional problems"

By Rob Manch - Reporter

BEDFORD COUNTY (WSLS 10) - We're hearing from a neighbor who says he knew the man who shot at three people, including WDBJ7 reporter Tim Saunders, in the town of Thaxton Thursday afternoon.

A man living just across the street says 18-year-old Daniel Flint had always had emotional problems.

"He had problems, but you deal with it, that's all. But he's never been violent or anything like that," said neighbor Bill Roth.

Roth says it never occurred to him that the 18-year-old living across the street might one day pick up a gun and turn it on others.

"You feel sad for the parents, the family. They didn't want this to happen, mom and dad work, just like everybody else," said Roth.

Deputies say Flint's step-father and mother weren't home when they started getting calls about a fire near a propane tank behind the house.

"They noticed smoke coming from the rear of the house and they couldn't necessarily get that right there because they didn't know how safe it was or if he was still in the house or had gone back to the house. So we had to see if we could locate him before we could call the fire department in and be safe," said Major Ricky Gardener, with the Bedford County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies say Flint had lit a pile of logs on fire next to a propane tank.

Deputies ensured safety by quickly searching the building.

"Deputies also found extensive damage inside the residence, including bullet holes and also bullet holes," said Gardener.

Deputies realized flint had a gun.

Then, they received the call that he had used it.

"At 1:43 pm dispatch received a call from WDBJ7 who advised that a subject had fired a shot at their van at the intersection of Von Roy and Wheatland," said Gardener.

Roth says he wasn't home, but he got a frightening call as well.

"Another neighbor said Daniel was out with a rifle which, now all of a sudden, you know something serious is going on," said Roth.

As Flint made his way down Wheatland Road, he shot the tire of a passing van.

"After getting the second call at 1:51 about the van, we had moved or they had moved into the Von Roy area, which is a gravel road off of Wheatland Road and off of Magnolia, and they had moved into that area and they happened upon him and ordered him to surrender and he surrendered," said Gardener.

The ordeal ended without violence.

"Nobody got hurt, the boy's going to get help that he needs desperately," said Roth.

Deputies say, it's the best outcome they could hope for.

"I'm happy, let's just put it that way, that it ended the way it did and no one got hurt," said Gardener.

Flint is currently facing charges of malicious shooting of an occupied vehicle, attempted malicious shooting of an occupied vehicle, and arson.

Deputies say it's likely more charges are coming.

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