Sugg Middle School teacher threatened to shoot neighbor, deputies say

Sugg Middle School's Paul Sams threatened to shoot neighbor during dispute, deputies say

Bradenton HeraldMay 11, 2014 


BRADENTON -- A teacher at Sugg Middle School is facing aggravated assault charges after deputies say he threatened to shoot his neighbor with a shotgun Friday night.

Paul Sams, 43, and his 33-year-old neighbor, who live in the 600 block of 61st Street Northwest, have had an ongoing dispute about code enforcement issues, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

The two began arguing outside sometime around 5:50 p.m. Friday, when the victim was working on his front yard and Sams began to hold up his cell phone as if he were taking photos or video, the arrest report stated.

The man began shouting at Sams, and then each man returned to his respective home, the report states.

The younger man came outside a few minutes later to continue working in his yard and saw Sams walking toward the roadway with a shotgun in his hand, according to the report.

Sams "racked the shotgun and made threats" toward his neighbor, the report states.

The neighbor said Sams yelled at him, "I got something for you" while holding the shotgun in the air, the arrest report states.

The man took cover three photos of Sams holding the shotgun in the air, which he later showed deputies. He then ran and took cover behind his truck and called the sheriff's office.

Following his arrest, Sams admitted going to retrieve the shotgun because his neighbor had threatened his wife and daughter and that he was scared, deputies said.

Sams was arrested, and the shotgun was found inside his home, the sheriff's office said.

Manatee School District spokesperson Steve Valley confirmed Sams is a second-year teacher at Sugg Middle, although he is listed by a different first name in the district's email system.

The Sugg Middle School website lists Matt Sams as an

ESE language arts teacher.

"He'll be placed on paid administrative leave pending the completion of the MCSO's investigation," Valley said.

Sams was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm. He was released from the Manatee County jail on a $5,000 bond Saturday, according to the sheriff's office website.

Sams is not the only Sugg Middle teacher facing criminal charges. Last month, Bradenton police recommended charges of sexual battery in a case against physical education coach Brian Stephens.

An eighth-grade female student reportedly approached an assistant principal during her lunch hour and said she had been touched in the area of her breasts by Stephens, who was also the junior varsity baseball coach at Manatee High School.

Police are recommending that Stephens be charged with lewd and lascivious battery. The State Attorney's Office will review the case and decide whether or not to prosecute.

Sugg Middle principal Sharon Scarbrough was out of town for the weekend and could not be reached for comment.

Scarbrough is being reassigned to Haile Middle School in the fall.

Sams is scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment hearing at 9 a.m. May 30.

Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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