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Photo provided by David Butcher the founder and curator of the tablertown people of color museum

Gunshots fired at Tablertown People of Color Museum sign

The Tabler Town People of Color sign was shot at five times with a firearm on Veteran’s Day, according to the Athens County Sheriff's office. 

David Butcher, the museum’s founder, and his wife were at home when they heard rapid gunshots around 8:25 p.m. Nov. 11. 

Signs of the museum have been stolen and vandalized before, but Butcher thinks it is very concerning that a firearm is now involved. 

“It’s very concerning because … we don't know what they're upset about because they won't have a conversation,” Butcher said. “People who do things like this do them on the fringes of darkness, they paint signs at night, they steal signs at night, they shoot guns at night.” 

Dedicating time to the deep cultural history of Tablertown, now known as Kilvert, David Butcher founded the People of Color Museum in Tablertown in 2018. The museum, which is on Butcher’s personal property at 9035 state Route 329, includes crucial artifacts significant to Black history and culture in Athens County. 

These strings of incidents don’t discourage Butcher. He is continuing on his path to tell a story. However, he thinks someone is trying to send him a message, and he is worried about his family’s safety. 

Often, some of his family members make a trip down to the end of his driveway to take the trash out or go for a walk, which is near the location of the sign. 

“Something bad really could have happened, " Butcher said. “That's why I reported this.”

Athens County Sheriff Rodney Smith said Butcher’s complaints are being investigated. Primary Officer Trey Nuzum’s incident report stated that no shell casings from the five gunshots were found. 

“We have deputies assigned to investigate the situation, so we can't divulge a lot of information, and we don't have a ton of information,” Smith said. “They look for gun casings, gun shells. We're following all these and trying to figure out who's done (this) here.”

Butcher said he has received immense support and sees a silver lining. In an effort to drive the community apart, he thinks this incident has brought the community closer. Minuteman Press printed new signs for him, and he also received phone calls from people who wanted to donate to help replace the signs. 

“It’s concerning, but am I scared?” Butcher asked. “No, I’m not scared of it I'll just keep doing what I'm doing.”


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