A gunman went on a shooting spree, killing two women and a man and injuring a girl at a home in eastern Tennessee. There were a half-dozen children in the home that witnessed the shooting, according to authorities.
NBC News‘ coverage includes a statement by the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.
“Officers found two adult females inside the home with gunshot wounds. Both were pronounced dead at the scene. A male victim was also found to be suffering from gunshot wounds. He was airlifted to the Johnson City Medical Center where he later died.”
The 19-year-old suspect, identified as Robert Seth Denton of Bristol, Tennessee, was shot and wounded by another family member during his getaway. The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office said Denton was caught and apprehended a short time later.
Leading up to horrible shooting, the gunman parked his vehicle a short distance from the home, walked up a steep hill, and opened fire when he reached the house near Bristol, Tennessee, Sheriff Wayne Anderson said Sunday.
Associated Press reports a brief comment about the shooting by Sheriff Anderson.
“From what I’ve seen and heard, he just took ’em by surprise. It just all happened real fast. It’s the most horrific thing I think I’ve seen.”
Authorities had not yet identified the victims.
Denton was charged with three counts of first-degree murder, aggravated assault, and felony reckless endangerment.
Investigators were trying to determine a motive. However, Sheriff Anderson told a local television station, WCYB that Denton appeared to be related to the family living in the home.
Anderson talked with WCYB about the shooting spree.
“Apparently he’s a family member but I’m not sure what relationship he is. He made it up here where they live in their house, went in with a long-gun, I can’t say specifically what it is right now, but he went in with a long-gun, and he just started shooting everybody.”
Sheriff Anderson said one child suffered a non-life threatening injury.
“There might be some shrapnel or something else that entered her leg as a result of the shooting. He didn’t turn the gun on her. Something ricocheted or a fragment went into her leg.”
Neighbor Darrell Grey said he was sitting on his patio next door when the shooting began. He said he heard about 10 to 12 gunshots and screaming. The shooting rampage lasted about a minute, he said.
“Everything happened so fast,” he said in a phone interview Sunday. “It was just a barrage of ‘pow, pow, pow.'”
Grey added it’s common to hear gunshots from hunters in the rural area where they live.
“But this time we knew it was something different because it was too many shots together.”
Grey said that, after the shooting ended, he saw a man running down the long driveway.
Sheriff Anderson said another relative of Denton caught up to the suspect and shot him in the left shoulder while he was trying to flee the scene of the crime.
Anderson said, “Somehow this other family member got down to the bottom (of the driveway) and shot him in the car while the guy was driving away.
Denton drove a short distance before stopping to ask someone to call 911. The sheriff said Denton was taken into custody about a half-mile from where the shooting spree took place.
Denton was treated at a local hospital and then taken to jail.
[Featured image via Sullivan Country Sheriff’s Office]