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. Occasionally, a woman is the shooter. The only common denominator in these incidents is the weapon used.

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.

Total 2017 incidents to-date: 22
Total number injured: 6
Total number killed: 35
*Some incidents result in multiple people injured or killed

Last updated 11/17/2017


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 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


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


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 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


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/