Motel guest hit in face with snake, SC man charged

April 16th, 2010 by – A man “deathly afraid” of reptiles was attacked by a snake-wielding man using the six-foot long python as a weapon, police say.

Tony Smith, 29, of 1920 Corwin Drive, Rock Hill was charged with assault and battery after an altercation at the Executive Inn on North Anderson Road Tuesday night, according to a Rock Hill police report.

Smith is accused of hitting Jeffery Culp, 47, in the head with the snake on the balcony of the motel, police said.

Tony Smith. Courtesy of Rock Hill Police.
“I almost had a heart attack,” Culp said. “I dropped to my knees and actually crawled back into my room.”

Culp, who has been staying at the inn until his housing comes open, said he had contact with Smith and the snake earlier in his stay.

“He was out there running up and down the sidewalk with it,” Culp said. “I told him I don’t do snakes. I’m deathly afraid of them.”

But that didn’t stop Smith from tapping Culp on the shoulder and putting the python in his face, he said.

Culp said he asked the man with the snake to turn down music around 9 p.m. Smith was with others racing down the hallway in chairs, Culp said, and he had to work the next day.

A couple hours later, Culp went out for a smoke with his wife and a neighbor when he says Smith tapped him on the shoulder.

“And he said, ‘here look at this,’” Culp said. “He had the snake’s head squeezed so its mouth was open. He ran it across my face and it tried to crawl in my mouth.”

The snake grabbed him on the upper lip, and Culp has a few scratches from the encounter. Culp said he didn’t need medical treatment.

That night, Culp said he took a three-hour shower and couldn’t sleep.

Culp said animals shouldn’t be used to hurt or scare others.

“I have a dog. Some people are afraid of dogs,” he said. “I keep my dog away from them. I don’t use the dog as a weapon.”

Culp said he didn’t know Smith’s name until he saw the police report.

Based on Culp’s description, officers found Smith on the second-floor balcony of the inn with the python in his arms, the report said. He was arrested, and the snake was released to a family member.

Smith was released Wednesday afternoon on a $1,092 bond.

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment. You are free to voice your opinion but please keep it clean. Any comments using profanity will be rejected.