Hancock County

Fight nearly erupts between Diamondhead resident, city councilman

Diamondhead resident Tommy Nichols recounts a confrontation he had with Diamondhead City Councilman Tom Woolbright on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.
Diamondhead resident Tommy Nichols recounts a confrontation he had with Diamondhead City Councilman Tom Woolbright on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. wmuller@sunherald.com

A fistfight nearly erupted at City Hall just after Tuesday’s City Council meeting, between Councilman Tom Woolbright and a resident.

The City Council had adjourned after a fairly quick meeting, and residents and city officials were milling around the conference room at City Hall speaking to one another.

Within just a few minutes of the meeting’s end, Tommy Nichols approached Woolbright in the middle of the room and said something to him.

Woolbright immediately raised his voice in response, drawing the entire room’s attention.

The argument quickly escalated. Threats were made, and the two men were soon standing nose to nose.

The situation appeared on the brink of a physical confrontation when Diamondhead Police Chief John Luther rushed to the center of the room, placing himself between the councilman and Nichols.

Luther separated the two and escorted Woolbright out of the building.

The Sun Herald later interviewed Nichols, who said he confronted Woolbright regarding an incident that occurred Monday.

Nichols, who supports a City Council candidate running against Woolbright, said he was placing a campaign sign on a lawn Monday. While driving away, he said, he received a phone call and pulled over to take it.

While parked and on the phone, he noticed another vehicle pass him in the opposite direction, then turn around and pull up next to him, he said.

“The car pulls up beside me in the middle of Diamondhead Drive and stops,” Nichols said. “I look over, and it’s Tom Woolbright.”

He said the councilman sat there and stared at him.

Nichols’ vehicle bears magnetic campaign signs for the opposing candidate, so he believes Woolbright saw those signs and was trying to intimidate him, he said.

“There’s no question (he was trying to intimidate me),” Nichols said. “The man is full of rage and hate, and I think it’s really frightening.”

The Diamondhead municipal primaries are two weeks away. The election includes the office of mayor and the city council seats.

In a phone interview Tuesday night, Woolbright said he did not remember the incident at all.

“I don’t remember yelling with anybody,” he said.

When asked if the residents of Diamondhead deserved an honest comment about what happened, Woolbright reiterated he remembered nothing and declined an offer to view the video of police escorting him out of City Hall.

Wesley Muller: 228-896-2322, @WesleySMuller

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