Domestic Violence Shootings

Tennessee is ranked 4th in the nation for women murdered by men, most often with a gun. In almost all cases, the woman is murdered by someone with whom she has had a current or former romantic relationship.  Sometime the man shoots the woman and then kills himself.  Sometimes he shoots the woman and their children. These shootings happen in cities and rural communities.  The shooters and victims come from all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Sometimes, a woman is the shooter. The only common denominator in these incidents is the weapon used. In heated, emotional situations, the presence of a firearm often turns an argument into a shooting, and far too often, a fatality.

Women in the United States are 11x more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries

The presence of a gun in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500%  

Female intimate partners are more likely to be murdered with a firearm than all other means combined
(For more information and statistic on domestic violence shootings, click here for the Domestic Violence Hotline)

Although domestic abusers in Tennessee are required to dispossess their firearms, there currently is no mechanism in place to ensure compliance. And, since background checks are not required for private gun sales in Tennessee, a domestic abuser prohibited from buying a gun can easily acquire one from a private seller, in a gun show parking lot, or via an online gun exchange such as Armslist.com.

Using data from The Gun Violence Archive and news alerts, we track domestic violence shootings in Tennessee.  Since not all shootings are reported or show up in media alerts, this is in no way an exhaustive list.  It does, however, offer a snapshot of the dangers of guns in domestic violence situations. The listings below include any shooting between individuals who have a current or former intimate relationship or those that involve family members. Some shootings resulted in multiple injuries or fatalities

Total 2018 incidents tracked-to-date: 12
Total number injured: 8
Total number killed: 8
*Some incidents result in multiple people injured or killed

Last updated 2/8/2018

2017 Incidents – Total Incidents: 33 | Injuries: 10 | Fatalities: 44


February 13, 2018 – Memphis
A man was shot and killed by his girlfriend in their apartment in what police describe as a domestic violence incident.
https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/crime/2018/02/13/man-killed-east-memphis-domestic-incident/332374002/


February 11, 2018 – East Ridge
25-year-old Scott Benn shot his stepfather, 56-year-old Dale Edmonds then sped away in a vehicle which he then crashed into a home. He was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and theft of property.


February 7, 2018 – Knoxville
Two cousins got into a fight and one shot the other. The victim was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. The suspect is at large.
http://www.wate.com/news/local-news/police-cousin-shot-after-argument-with-family-member/957926950

February 6, 2018 – Memphis
Samara Deshay Ward, 22, was shot to death in the parking lot of her Ashton Hills apartment by 24-year-old Latravius White, the father of her 1-year-old child. The young mother was holding the child at the time. The child was not injured. White then turned the gun on himself.
http://wreg.com/2018/02/08/vigil-set-to-remember-raleigh-mother-killed-while-holding-baby/


January 28, 2018 – Memphis
A woman who was nine moths pregnant and due any day was fatally shot by her boyfriend and the father of her baby. Her dead body was found at home. The boyfriend was there as well. Police believe she had been dead for several days and that the shooting appeared to have stemmed from a domestic violence situation.
http://www.fox13memphis.com/top-stories/pregnant-woman-fatally-shot-boyfriend-charged/691635262


January 25, 2018 – Knoxville
Janice Cox, 67, fatally shot her husband, 55-year-old Terry Cox. She told police she shot him after they got into an argument.
http://www.wate.com/news/local-news/woman-charged-with-shooting-killing-husband-in-north-knox-county/939502668


January 17, 2018 – Knoxville
Richard Keith Shipley, 54, shot Amy Lou Willoughby, 55, with a shotgun. She suffered significant shotgun wounds to the left side of her face and her left forearm and is currently in serious condition. Shipley was charged with domestic assault against Willboughy in 2015, but the charge was later dismissed.
https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/crime/2018/01/16/knoxville-woman-suffers-shotgun-blast-face-arm-boyfriend-charged/1036636001/


January 16, 2018 – Carter County
Connie Lee Long, 58, charged with one count of aggravated assault after she shot her brother Steven D. Long in the back as he walked down a road. The two siblings had been in a verbal altercation earlier in the day.
http://wcyb.com/news/local/police-carter-county-woman-shot-brother-in-the-back


January 12, 2018 – Nashville
Queshan Brooks, 24, shot his stepmother and her two young children in a domestic violence shooting. He then fled the scene and carjacked a vehicle, shooting the driver and the passenger. The two children, a 5-year-old and 8-year-old, both died as did the 70-year-old driver of the vehicle. The woman and other victim were hospitalized. Brooks has a history of domestic violence and firearms as well as history of aggravated robbery.
https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/crime/2018/01/12/adult-two-children-injured-north-nashville-shooting/1030626001/


January 11, 2018 – Portland
39-year-old Jason Whittemore shot and killed 33-year-old Miranda Whittemore in what police described as domestic-related. Police are searching for the man who they describe as armed and dangerous.
http://www.wsmv.com/story/37247876/portland-police-looking-for-suspect-in-womans-murder


January 7, 2018 – Chattanooga
50-year-old Jennifer Franklin shot her husband, 58-year-old John Franklin, during an argument. His injuries were not life-threatening. She was charged with aggravated assault.
http://www.chattanoogan.com/2018/1/7/361190/Jennifer-Franklin-50-Arrested-After.aspx


January 4, 2018 – Nashville
23-year-old Cealie James shot her girlfriend, 21-year-old Destiny Gregory, during an argument in their home. Gregory was taken to the hospital and was last listed in stable condition. James was charged with attempted criminal homicide.
https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/crime/2018/01/04/woman-charged-attempted-homicide-shooting-girlfriend/1006048001/


January 1, 2018 – Memphis
Corry Merriweather, 31, fatally shot 29-year-old Chandra Mays in what police describe as a domestic violence shooting. Merriweather had been arrested on March 6, 2016, accused of hitting a different woman with a closed fist, according to an affidavit. He was charged with domestic assault, but the case was dismissed in February 2017, according to online records. It’s not clear from the records why the case was dismissed.
https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2018/01/01/memphis-man-prior-domestic-violence-arrest-accused-killing-woman/994680001/



December 26, 2017 – Portland
Jose Castano, 55, fatally shot his wife 49-year-old Jacqueline Castano during an argument. Mrs. Castano was a special education teacher Madison Creek Elementary School.
https://www.newschannel5.com/news/husband-kills-wife-during-argument-on-day-after-christmas

December 9, 2017 – Memphis
Brandon Freeman fatally shot his pregnant girlfriend, 22-year-old Keosha Miller. Freeman said he wasn’t sure if the baby Miller was carrying was his and that killing her was the easiest way for him to leave the relationship.
http://www.wmcactionnews5.com/story/36683615/woman-shot-killed-in-whitehaven


November 25, 2017 – Gordonsville
55-year-old Stacye Nash shot his wife Dora then went to home of her son. where he allegedly go into a fight with the son and his girlfriend. He fired shots at both of them, hitting the son and causing a superficial injury. When law enforcement arrived, he fired at them. They returned fire and shot him. He survived and was charged with attempted murder.
https://www.newschannel5.com/news/wife-shot-in-smith-county-deputies-shoot-husband


November 16, 2017 – Nashville
61-year-old Wolfgang Blair shot and killed his girlfriend, 56-year-old Stephanie Jackson, inside their home before she was to depart Wednesday morning for a flight to Phoenix. The two had been having problems and she planned to move to Phoenix to be with her son.  Her body was found next to her suitcase. She had been shot in the back.
http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/crime/2017/11/16/apparent-murder-suicide-east-nashville/872520001/


October 25, 2017 – Memphis
24-year-old Anthony Harris said he left his 33-year-old girlfriend at home and returned to find her shot. She was taken to the hospital but did not survive. After investigating, homicide detectives determined that he was lying. He has been charged with second degree murder.
Total number shot: 1
Victims injured: 0
Victims killed: 1
http://www.wmcactionnews5.com/story/36683615/woman-shot-killed-in-whitehaven


September 14, 2017 – Memphis
46-year-old James Nelson shot and killed his longtime girlfriend after an argument on Friday night. The two had children together. Nelson is currently charged with first-degree murder and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
Total number shot: 1
Victims injured: 0
Victims killed: 1
http://www.wmcactionnews5.com/story/36380518/mpd-woman-shot-in-head-at-mississippi-blvd-gaither-st


September 14, 2017 – Clarksville
Jordan M. Hazel, 27, shot and killed his wife, Keara Wynn Hazel, 23, and their two children, Kayden, a 3-year-old boy, and Jaylynn, a 9-month-old girl. Hazel has been charged with three counts of homicide.
Total number shot: 3
Victims injured: 0
Victims killed: 3
http://www.theleafchronicle.com/story/news/crime/2017/09/14/husband-arrested-slaying-wife-two-children-clarksville/668919001/


September 5, 2017 – Pulaski
18-year-old Colton Perryman shot and killed his 16-year-old pregnant girlfriend Samantha “Stormy” Carter. She was 22 weeks pregnant with a little girl to be named Scarlett Danielle, who also did not survive.
Total number shot: 1
Victims injured: 0
Victims killed: 1
http://wkrn.com/2017/09/05/shooting-of-juvenile-under-investigation-in-pulaski/


August 21, 2017 – Waverly
22-year-old Charles Shear and his wife Brandi, also 22, got into a fight and fired shots. She was hit and did not survive.
http://wkrn.com/2017/08/21/waverly-husband-charged-in-wifes-shooting-death/


August 17, 2017 – Nashville
Terry Moyers shot and killed his girlfriend in the home he shared with her, their 3-year-old, and a roommate. He told the roommate to take the child across the street and when police arrived, shot and killed himself.
Total number shot: 2
Victims injured: 0
Victims killed: 2
http://wkrn.com/2017/08/17/police-respond-to-shooting-in-east-nashville/


August 5, 2017 – Cheatham County
35-year-old Angel Nicole Scruggs was taken into custody after fatally shooting her 44-year-old boyfriend Christopher White.  Scruggs was arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter.
Total number shot: 1
Victims injured: 0
Victims killed: 1
http://www.newschannel5.com/news/local-news/woman-arrested-after-fatal-shooting-of-boyfriend


August 1, 2017 – Nashville
24-year-old Andre Jones shot and killed his ex-girlfriend Janesia Young, 19 and wounded her brother 26-year-old Deangelo Young. The shooting took place when the two met in a parking lot so that Young could return some items to Jones. Jones was accompanied by another male. Jones and Young got into an altercation. The altercation continued after all parties left the parking lot and then shots were fired from Jones’s car.
http://www.wsmv.com/story/36027403/woman-killed-brother-injured-in-north-nashville-shootout


July 23, 2017 – Andersonville
Shannon Smith, 44, fatally shot her husband Timothy Ray Smith in their driveway.
http://www.wate.com/news/local-news/woman-indicted-after-man-found-dead-in-union-county/834514565


July 20, 2017 – Chattanooga
Reginald Oakley fatally shot his girlfriend, 42-year-old Katrina Holloway. Police determined that the two had been arguing prior to the shooting.
http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/35928018/person-shot-overnight-on-cypress-street-court


July 11, 2017 – Crossville
A man shot his wife, a nursing home patient, and then fatally shot himself. She sustained serious injuries and was hospitalized in critical condition.
Total number shot: 2
Victims injured: 1
Victims killed: 1
http://www.wbir.com/news/crime/district-ag-husband-dead-after-attempted-murder-suicide-at-nursing-home/456424712


July 9, 2017 – Nashville
Lakesha Johnson fired shots at her husband Justin as he was trying to drive away from their home. The two had been arguing because he left the front door open earlier. One of the bullets went through the driver’s side door and struck him in the arm. She was arrested and charged with attempted homicide.
https://patch.com/tennessee/antioch-south-nashville/husband-leaves-door-open-wife-shoots-him-nashville-police

June 23, 2017 – Lenoir City
28-year-old Colby Cannon fatally shot his his sister, 24-year-old Taylor Brooke Cannon Creamer, and his fiancee, 28-year-old Bethany McKenzie. Three children were present at the time of the shootings.
http://www.wbir.com/mobile/article/news/crime/loudon-co-man-charged-with-killing-his-sister-and-fiancee/51-451063770


June 17, 2017 – Nashville
40-year-old Andrew Tucker shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, 41-year-old Amy Williams and then killed himself.
Total number shot: 2
Victims injured: 0
Victims killed: 2
http://wkrn.com/2017/06/18/man-woman-killed-in-shooting-at-east-nashville-home/


June 16, 2017 – Oak Ridge
49-year-old Michael Deuschle shot and killed 43-year-old Tessa Deuschle and her daughter, 24-year-old Chelsea Kessel. He then fatally shot himself.
Total number shot: 3
Victims injured: 0
Victims killed: 3
http://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/crime/2017/06/15/three-people-found-dead-oak-ridge-home/400871001/


May 16, 2017 – Nashville
Police were called to investigate a possible burglary and found 52-year-old Michel Louka Guirguis holding his wife and two children hostage. He was holding a gun to his wife’s head. There as a shootout involving police and Guirguis. He, his wife and their 10-year-old son were injured in the exchange of gunfire. attempted homicide, aggravated assault and aggravated burglary charges
Total number shot: 3
Victims injured: 3
Victims killed: 0
http://www.newschannel5.com/news/3-people-shot-at-antioch-apartments


April 30, 2017 – Johnson City
38-year-old Lee Peifly shot his wife in the chest during a domestic disturbance and threatened to shoot her mother. He was charged with attempted second-degree murder and aggravated assault.
Total number shot: 1
Victims injured: 1
Victims killed: 0
http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/law-enforcement/2017/04/30/Johnson-City-man-charged-with-attempted-murder-in-wife-s-shooting


April 24, 2017 – Rhea County
50-year-old Patricia Wilkey fatally shot her husband, Thomas Wilkey, Jr., 51. The Rhea County Sheriff’s Department discovered the 51-year-old dead inside his home
http://wkrn.com/2017/04/24/woman-arrested-in-connection-to-husbands-death-in-rhea-county/


April 22, 2017 – Jonesborough
A 61-year-old man and his 57-year-old wife were found dead, both from gunshots, in what authorities describe as a murder suicide.
Total number shot: 2
Victims injured: 0
Victims killed: 2
http://www.greenevillesun.com/news/local_news/murder-suicide-victims-names-released/article_4912d638-6bdb-55f7-8edb-e64692e92f31.html


April 13, 2017 – Memphis
George Earl Muhammad, 29, shot and killed his 27-year-old wife Kendall Brown and her sister Kayla Brown, 19. The couple’s five children were present during the shooting but were not injured. Muhammed had been charged with domestic violence against his wife in the past.
Total number shot: 2
Victims injured: 0
Victims killed: 2
http://www.wmcactionnews5.com/story/35163837/husband-accused-of-killing-wife-sister-in-law-to-face-judge


April 11, 2017 – Cookeville
30-year-old Angelique Deplae shot her ex-boyfriend Tyler Stults, 20, and a woman he was speaking with before turning the gun on herself. Deplae and Stults both died. The other woman was hospitalized.
Total number shot: 3
Victims injured: 1
Victims killed: 2
http://www.wbir.com/news/local/shooting-reported-at-cookeville-plant/430427980


April 4, 2017 – Nashville
Dallas Cato shot his girlfriend Sammeca Hall, 30, in both legs. Cato tried to leave the scene and ended up crashing his car. He was taken to the hospital where he died. It is unclear whether or not he shot himself.
http://www.wsmv.com/story/35073190/man-dead-girlfriend-injured-in-domestic-violence-incident


April 3, 2017 – Memphis
Mario Scales, 30 fatally shot his wife Lisa Peoples. She had been living in a shelter with their children and had filed an order of protection against him earlier the same day. After shooting her, Scales called Peoples’ sister and told her he had just shot her sister.
http://www.wmcactionnews5.com/story/35061686/woman-shot-in-hickory-hill-suspect-on-the-run


March 23, 2017 – Greeneville
The Greene County Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call from a woman saying she was locked in her room, was bleeding, and a male with a gun was trying to get to her.  When deputies arrived, they found James Irvan Cowgill, 40 and Jennifer S. Sorrells, 39, both deceased from gunshot wounds. Cowgill fatally shot Sorrells, then turned the gun on himself and took his own life.  Cowgill had a history of arrests for domestic violence.
Total number shot: 2
Victims injured: 0
Victims killed: 2
http://www.greenevillesun.com/news/local_news/killed-in-apparent-murder-suicide/article_10be5f8c-b0db-5031-8079-b145f63e8b7b.html


February 19, 2017 – Memphis
A couple that were considering divorce were found dead in their home after police were called for a welfare check. Margaret Swearengen, an artist, age 65, was found inside the residence with multiple gunshot wounds. Thomas Swearengen, her 57-year-old husband, was found with a single gunshot wound.
Total number shot: 2
Victims injured: 0
Victims killed: 2
http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/crime/2017/02/26/two-murder-suicides-part-spike-deadly-domestic-violence-cases/98301108/


February 18, 2017 – Memphis
64-year-old James Lea fatally shot himself and his 55-year-old wife Lisa Lea.
Total number shot: 2
Victims injured: 0
Victims killed: 2
https://www.usnews.com/news/tennessee/articles/2017-02-27/2-murder-suicides-part-of-domestic-violence-spike-in-memphis


February 15, 2017 – Alcoa
60-year-old Dawn R. Hodge shot 55-year-old Ladonald E. Hodge and then turned the gun on herself, according to police.
Total number shot: 2
Victims injured: 0
Victims killed: 2
http://www.wbir.com/news/crime/alcoa-police-investigating-couple-found-dead-at-home/408762659


January 31, 2017 – East Ridge
Joseph “Charley” Yates, 54, shot his longtime girlfriend Ellen McKenzie, 48, in the head, then put the shotgun barrel in his mouth and pulled the trigger, according to a preliminary report from the Hamilton County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Total number shot: 2
Victims injured: 0
Victims killed: 2
http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2017/feb/16/medical-examiner-east-ridge-mkilled-girlfrien/413124/


January 24 – Nashville
Odell Collins, 43, killed his live-in girlfriend, Dy-Keshia Franklin, 34, then fatally shot himself in the head.
Total number shot: 2
Victims injured: 0
Victims killed: 2
http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/afternoon/2017/01/25/double-shooting-near-donelson-appears-murder-suicide/97042264/