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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published May 26 2013

Williams County cracks down on crew camps where two homicides, stabbing have occurred

WILLISTON, N.D. – Oil-field crew camps where two homicides and a stabbing have occurred need to beef up security or be forced to shut down, according to Williams County officials.

The Williams County Planning and Zoning Commission is now requiring the Capital Lodge and Wanzek camps, both near Tioga, to provide proof of their security procedures, undergo inspections and re-apply for permits to operate in six months.

The Wanzek camp was the site of a fatal shooting Aug. 4. Capital Lodge had a fatal stabbing March 17 and a stabbing May 19 that left one man injured.

“It puts so much fear in the people that live here,” said Tate Cymbaluk, chairman of the planning and zoning commission that met for four hours late into Thursday evening.

Williams County Commission Chairman Dan Kalil said he thinks the Wanzek camp should be closed because firearms are prohibited from crew camps, while knives are more difficult to keep out.

“I firmly believe that when a murder happens in a camp it should be shut down,” said Kalil, who made an unsuccessful motion for the Wanzek camp to be reviewed again in three months. The full county commission will vote on the two camps, as well as several new requirements for temporary housing, on June 11.

Alan Spencer, owner and operator of the camp that is leased to Wanzek Construction of Fargo, said he’s had the sheriff and a private investigator review the camp’s security policies since the shooting. The camp has a licensed security guard and emergency medical technicians on staff who responded within minutes of the incident, which involved employees of a subcontractor who had been at the camp for four days and didn’t get along, Spencer said.

“It was an awful, awful, awful event that I wish we could have prevented,” Spencer said.

No Wanzek employees were involved with the incident, a company official said at the time.

Mike Boudreaux, CEO of Capital Lodge, said the camp has a secured entrance, two security vehicles roving at all times and hundreds of cameras. The camp recently added a security guard to walk around the premises, and officials continue to review their policies. “We are very concerned,” Boudreaux said.

Both camps said they have policies against weapons and alcohol and require background checks for residents.

Commissioners could give the camps 30-day notices to vacate if they don’t meet the conditions of their permits, Cymbaluk said.

“There needs to be some accountability and responsibility,” he said.

In the August shooting, Victor Scott Lamont, of Texas, is charged with murder for the death of Gerald Schild, a race car driver from Texas. Lamont also is charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting Arkansas man Travis Lomax.

The March stabbing involved longtime friends from Michigan who had been drinking in Tioga before returning to their cabin at Capital Lodge. Ryan Neil Anderson is charged with murder in connection with the death of Christopher King. Both cases are scheduled for trials early next year.

Details of the May 19 stabbing remain unclear. A man who has not been identified by authorities was found walking in the camp with a stab wound, but it’s not certain where the stabbing occurred, said the Williams County Sheriff’s Office.