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Camden Public Safety

Man has a standoff with Camden Co. Deputies, sets own house on fire

Standoff at near Burnt Fort Road

The Camden County 911 Communication Center received a call at 3:21 pm on Tuesday that a man was shooting at people in the area of 215 Old Burnt Fort Road, located in the west-northwest section of Camden County near the county line with Charlton County, along the Satilla River.

Deputies responded to this location and discovered the man was barricaded in the residence.  He had broken all the windows in the residence and totally destroyed the interior of the house.  Family members stated he was angry because of a recent family breakup and had been asked to vacate the house.

The man was identified as John Samuel Rowland, 67 years old.  He remained in the house not willing to speak with deputies and had cut off all means of communication with family members.  The standoff continued throughout the afternoon and into the evening hours.  The Camden County Emergency Response Team responded when the call was dispatched and tried all means of communication to contact Rowland.

The people of the neighborhood stated that he had been firing his weapons at people outside of the residence, and along the roadway in front of the home, breaking out windows, and destroying furnishing within the house.

A robotic camera was deposited through a broken window and deputies could see via computer monitor that he was inside the home, and several weapons had been placed in various areas of the house, with one handgun loaded and cocked.

The Camden County Fire Rescue was requested to respond and standby.  Upon their arrival deputies introduced CS gas into the residence.  Rowland again refused to come out, but went to the eastern side of the residence and set the house on fire. Rowland surrendered by shouting he was coming outside through the front door.  As he exited the house he was wearing a hockey-style face protection mask and had a lighter in his hand.

Rowland was taken into custody and has been charged with Aggravated Assault at 9:00 pm.

Upon being interviewed by Investigators Rowland admitted to setting fire to the residence in an attempt to destroy the property.  Rowland had placed gas cans throughout the interior of the house in hopes the fire would quickly spread and engulf the entire structure.

No additional information will be forthcoming currently. The case is still under investigation with additional charges possibly occurring.

Lt. Cedric Brown looked into the clear star-laden sky as the Full MOON rose on the horizon and said: “You can definitely tell a full moon is on the rise.”


Jeremy Spencer grew up in rural South Georgia and has served as a healthcare provider, high school science teacher, school administrator, and state education official. Jeremy is currently the market and content manager for All on Georgia-Camden and Glynn Counties. Jeremy’s focus is local news, statewide education issues, and statewide political commentary for the All on Georgia News Network. Jeremy has served as an education policy analyst for local legislators and state education leaders as well as a campaign strategist for local and statewide political campaigns. Jeremy holds degrees in science and education from the University of Georgia, Piedmont College, and Valdosta State University. Jeremy has lived in Camden County for over 17 years.

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