City working to prevent water tower climbing, vandalism

City working to prevent water tower climbing, vandalism

WALTERS, OK (KSWO) - Continuing coverage on the water tower in Walters that was vandalized over the weekend. On Monday, city officials began looking into ways to prevent anyone else from climbing up the tower. Police found three teenagers on it around midnight Saturday.  The teens had painted messages dedicated to Gage Fisher, a teenager from Walters who died in the floods last spring.

Most parents in Walters say they would be terrified if their child was climbing on the tower.

Walters City Manager John Sheppard says he understands why a group of friends wanted to something to honor another who is no longer with them, but thinks it could be done in a safer way.

"The thought of a young person climbing up there just to put his girlfriend's name on it, their senior logo or something along that line that would get somebody killed or badly injured would be our biggest fear," said Sheppard.

It's been eight months since 15-year-old Fisher was swept away to his death by the strong currents of West Cache Creek. The writing on the water tower says his friends have not forgotten him. The teens found Saturday night, spray painted his football jersey number, his initials and the phrase "Love you. Seen you soon. Fly high."

Police say they are still investigating on how the teens got up to the water tower, but they did say they got through the fence surrounding the tower, and then climbed up to the ladder that's almost 20 feet above the ground.

Sheppard says while they are working on getting the paint removed, they are also finding a way to preventing this from happening again.

"I have people that work for me that admit they've been up on the tower when they were in high school," said Sheppard. "Everything's fine until someone's badly hurt."

Sheppard says he hopes they can put a guard around one of the poles of the tower to keep anyone from reaching the ladder, but that is just one of the options they will look into.

A lot of parents suggested that there could be a small memorial or plaque at the school or a park in remembrance of Fisher so maybe his classmates wouldn't go to such dangerous heights to remember their friend.

Walters Police say the teenagers were released to their parents that night, and as of today, they have not been charged with any crime.

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