Man accused of hitting Vietnam vet turns himself in

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Eric Rolland (WRDW-TV)

GROVETOWN, Ga. (WRDW) -- The man seen on tape hitting 77-year-old Jacob Cooter is 42-year-old Eric Rolland.

After seeing this surveillance video on News 12 last night, Rolland turned himself in Tuesday.

"I thank Channel 12 because now we're getting some action," said Jacob Cooter. "He needs to pay for his little chop in the back of the head."

Rolland is now facing simple battery charges. The entire alleged assault started over who was next in line.

According to the incident report, Rolland claims Cooter made a fist, and then made a racial slur.

No one argues there was an exchange of words, but the gas station employees we talked to said they heard nothing about race. Same goes for Columbia County deputies.

"You can't go around popping people in the back of the head," said Cooter.

After watching the video of her husband getting hit in the head, Brenda Cooter is thankful because she knows this could have ended differently.

"I'm glad he's okay because he's so large. One blow to somebody's head from someone that big could break their neck." said Brenda Cooter.

The more she watched the more she wanted justice for her husband.

"If you're going to hit somebody in the back of the head that's obviously at least half his age and a lot smaller he's capable of anything," said Brenda Cooter

Cooter says if it wasn't on video, and wasn't on News 12 she doesn't know if her husband's alleged attacker would ever face charges.

"It's on the internet. This guy could realize it's on camera. Everyone's going to see it, and sooner or later he's going to be caught. Now, he's doing the right thing I reckon by coming and turning himself in," said Cooter.

Now that so many have seen his face he'll have to face the music.

"I'm happy justice is going to be served," said Jacob Cooter.

"It could happen again if the man isn't stopped. He could hurt a woman or a child and he drives and 18-wheeler," said Brenda Cooter.

Rolland is a truck driver for Bennett Distribution.

We don't know if he was on the clock when deputies say this happened, but surveillance footage caught him driving away from the gas station in an 18-wheeler. We tried to reach out to the company, but were not able to get a hold of anyone.

Initial report

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

GROVETOWN, Ga. (WRDW) -- The man accused of attacking a Vietnam veteran at a local gas station turned himself in.

Eric Rolland is facing charges in the attack caught on camera, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office said.

Jacob Cooter was buying a water at the TPS gas station on Lewiston Road after his morning run. Words were exchanged between the two men over who was next in line, a report said. Rolland then came up from behind and hit Cooter on the back of the head.

Officials say after seeing News 12's story, the alleged attacker turned himself in and the man who was hit in the head couldn't be happier.

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