UPDATED — 1/2/18 @ 6:02 PM CST:
SEQUATCHIE, Tenn. — Officials in Marion County have released the identity of the victim and shooter in the fatal shooting that happened late Monday night in Sequatchie.
According to Marion County Sheriff Ronnie “Bo” Burnett the incident happened around 10:00 PM CST at a residence on Dancing Fern Road, located just off of Valley View Highway north of Jasper, when homeowner Johnny “Don” Watts called for police assistance after his neighbor, 24-year-old Brandon Shrum, allegedly came onto his property and began banging on the walls of his home with a shovel and making loud verbal threats.
Sheriff Burnett says the two had a history of bad blood between them and previous reports had been filed by Shrum against Watts. In one incident that was reported, Watts allegedly followed Shrum’s girlfriend several miles north to the Whitwell area — apparently trying to run her off the road in places along the way. The sheriff says the situation between them escalated this time before authorities could arrive to intervene.
According to reports, Shrum apparently approached Watts with a shovel still in hand and making threats. He said Watts said he felt threatened and in danger, which resulted in him reportedly firing two warning shots in the air before opening fire and striking Shrum with three shots from a 9mm pistol in what they’re now considering a possible act of self-defense.
Shrum was later pronounced dead and his body was taken for autopsy. The TBI was called in to assist in the initial investigation. Burnett says the TBI has the information from the previous reports filed by Shrum against Watts and those will be handed over to the Grand Jury along with the findings of the current investigation.
We’ve talked to several other residents on Dancing Fern Road who say they feel there’s more to the situation than an act of self-defense.
One resident who was closely-monitoring last night’s situation has requested their anonymity in fear of their family’s safety or retaliation says Watts has been known to have property disputes and various disagreements with others on their street in the past.
They say Watts has been “notorious for trespassing on other people’s property, making verbal or suggestive threats to them and others, and hiding in bushes and stalking the young children of neighbors.” They say he’s even gone as far as threatening another resident on their own property while possessing a firearm and following others onto their property and making threats for various reasons.
According to this anonymous source, they say Watts and another neighbor were allegedly involved in a situation where gunfire was exchanged in the past, though no one was injured. They say authorities were called and a report was filed with the sheriff’s department, but no arrests were made.
Despite the case in the incident that happened on Monday being handed to the Grand Jury, Sheriff Burnett pointed out that despite the Grand Jury’s involvement Tennessee state laws say a person has the right to protect themselves and can use deadly force anywhere – inside or out – provided they have “a reasonable belief that there is an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.”
The resident who’s made these claims against Watts says they’re even more concerned for their safety now following Shrum’s death. “It’s really concerning. We told the deputies in the past that we felt things were going to ‘get bad’ and someone was going to get killed and now they have!”
“When we contacted the sheriff’s department about the incident and other incidents that followed, we didn’t feel like it was taken as a serious matter. We hoped to get more answers or help from the sheriff’s department given the nature of things and it just wasn’t handled the way it should’ve been.”
Several other neighbors we’ve talked to echo those same thoughts and concerns. One said, “we simply want peace here and to stop worrying about the safety of our family.”
MarionCountyMessenger.com is looking into past incidents reported to the sheriff’s department at this time and hopes to follow-up with more information, if available.
It is not usually the policy of MarionCountyMessenger.com and our publishing and editorial staff to publish any anonymous claims or accusations of this nature, however due to the number of verified and vetted residents who’ve came forward with information and concerns — most requesting their identity to be withheld — we felt it was credible for publishing given the timely manner related to this story.
Sheriff Burnett says the investigation is still ongoing and Watts could face the Grand Jury as soon as February for a possible indictment. Burnett says no charges have been filed in the case at this time.
We’ll continue to follow the latest on this story. Stay with MarionCountyMessenger.com for the latest updates.
UPDATED — 1/2/18 @1:15 PM CST:
SEQUATCHIE, Tenn. — We’ve now learned that investigators with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department and the TBI have begun wrapping up the investigation into a fatal shooting that happened late Monday night.
Eyewitnesses say the incident happened on Dancing Fern Road, located off Valley View Highway just outside of Jasper in Sequatchie.
Witnesses say one person was killed and a suspect was reportedly taken into custody. We’ve since learned they were released and the case is being handled as self-defense.
We reached out to both the sheriff’s department and the TBI for further comments. The TBI offices are closed until Wednesday, however, Susan Niland replied that the TBI is “assisting Marion County in this investigation” and referred us to the sheriff’s department. We have not yet received a response from the Marion County Sheriff’s office.
We don’t anticipate the release of any names or further information until late Tuesday or Wednesday.
Stay with us for the latest updates on this breaking story.
Original Post — 1/2/18 @ 4:17 AM CST:
Details are still coming in regarding a shooting that occurred in Marion County overnight that’s left one person dead.
Officials with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department says one person is now in custody as a result of the incident.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (TBI) is helping to investigate.
At this time no names have been released and no further information has been made available regarding the incident.
We are following this story closely, stay with MarionCountyMessenger.com for the latest details. We will update with the latest information as soon as it’s available.