The Rev. William Rian Adams, 35, a former U.S. Air Force Chaplain, now serving as the rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Fletcher, North Carolina, was arrested and charged in Florida with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon last Wednesday after he allegedly pointed a handgun at another vehicle.
A Florida Highway Patrol report said Adams was driving a red Chevrolet Corvette when he attempted to brake check a Chevrolet Silverado pickup that was closely following his vehicle, according to the Palm Beach Post. The driver of the pickup then tried to go around Adams' vehicle which caused the priest to point the gun, authorities charge.
Adams' vehicle was pulled over by troopers in St. Lucie County shortly after his accusers, a 24-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman from St. Cloud called police.
The rector, however, disputed the charges. He told police that the Silverado pulled beside his vehicle and someone inside rolled down a window then started screaming and threw a drink at his vehicle.
He admitted he had a gun but said it was not loaded and had it under his passenger seat the entire time. His accusers insist, however, that he pointed a gun in their direction, causing them to fear for their safety. The priest's gun, a Glock 22, has since been taken and submitted into evidence. Martin County, Florida records show Adams was released from jail on $15,000 bail, according to Fox 6.
Calls made to Calvary Episcopal Church seeking comment were not answered Monday morning.
An Episcopal newsletter in Georgia said Adams accepted the call to serve as rector at Calvary in July 2016 and other reports said he started his new job last September. Prior to that, he was associate rector at Christ Church Frederica on St. Simons Island in Georgia.
Christ Church officials confirmed Adams' service at the parish Monday but refused to comment on his arrest. It was noted in the newsletter that Adams, who has a wife, Amber, and young son, attained the rank of captain during his service in the Air Force.
He was also a Bronze Star recipient who left the military chaplaincy after he was injured in combat in Afghanistan. He was senior Protestant chaplain at Edwards Air Force Base when he left active duty.
He told the Times-News Online that he is the grandson of a pastor and claims to have ancestors who served in the Revolutionary and Civil wars. He said he felt called to be a pastor at 16 and began working in church ministry when he was 18.
In an earlier Episcopal newsletter, Adams, who was raised as an evangelical, was described as "relatively new to The Episcopal Church."
"I began my ministry in an evangelical church. However, combat experiences in Afghanistan challenged my spirituality and theology in ways that ultimately led me to our new home in The Episcopal Church," he said.