Shots fired at Turner County newspaper editor's home

ASHBURN — Ben Baker, editor of The Wiregrass Farmer in Turner County, said Thursday he can't speculate why someone is attempting to harm him and his newspaper.

Attempted attacks on Baker, his family, his home and his office began more than a week ago.

"The first thing was when someone attempted to burn the vehicles in my yard," said Baker, who lives inside the city limits of Ashburn on South Main Street. "A brick cinderblock was throw into a window in the house at the same time."

Baker said the vandalism occurred around 5 a.m. Jan. 30 as he and his family were asleep inside the home.

"That night they came back and shot into the house and vehicles," Baker said. Again, Baker said no one was injured.

Baker, who has been at the Turner County newspaper for 19 years, said the shots were fired about 8 p.m. Jan. 30, shortly after a storm had passed through the city.

On Sunday evening, someone tinkered with and damaged the power meter at the office of The Wiregrass Farmer, which is located on Gordon Street in downtown Ashburn, just a block onto U.S. Highway 41.

The newspaper is owned by Trib Publications, which posted an initial reward for information in the case. The reward has grown to more than $500.

The incidents are being investigated by the Ashburn Police Department, Turner County Sheriff's Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

"We're using our resources to try to find out who is doing this," Turner Sheriff Andy Hester said. "We encourage any citizen who has seen someone suspicious out at night, or if they see a strange vehicle, to gives us a call. Get a tag number if possible."

Hester said there were multiple shots fired at the Baker residence.

"It appears the crime is geared toward (Baker)," the sheriff said. "They went to the Wiregrass office, too, so the common denominator is him, and not his family."

Baker, who would not speculate on reasons for the attack, said recent articles have not been drastically different from others he has written during his nearly two decades with the local newspaper.

The one bright spot, he said, is the community support he has received.

"The community support has been mind-blowing," Baker said. "It really has. I had no idea that I would have, and my family would have, this much support. People are stopping me on the street to talk with me and express concern."