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Tax evader arrested after standoff and gunfire

An alleged tax evader in Richland County is behind bars after two efforts to arrest him involved gunfire.

Robert Bayliss, 60, surrendered Thursday after a standoff in which bullets were exchanged and a fire started in his house.

Officials said Bayliss has "strong anti-government attitudes."

They first tried on Monday to serve him an eviction notice, for not paying $5,600 in property taxes since 2001 on his house and 18 acres near Viola. Officers retreated after they were shot at.

Thursday, they returned and this time they had an armored vehicle and SWAT teams from three counties.

Again, they were shot at and a standoff ensued.

Richland County Sheriff's Lt. Bob Frank said they used a bullhorn to talk to Bayliss because he didn't have a telephone.

Eventually, they threw tear gas into the house. Once the fire started, Bayliss gave up. No one was hurt.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated. Bayliss is now charged with pointing a firearm at an officer and Frank says other charges are possible.