KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL/ABC-Tri-Cities) New details have come to light from Saturday evening’s shooting investigation that took place at Kingsport’s MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center.
Police arrested two suspects in the shooting of a man at the hotel.
The third suspect is still on the run. Kingsport police said 29-year-old Matthew Phillips is considered armed and dangerous. Police are still accepting tips of any kind, both anonymous and on record on the whereabouts of Phillips.
Investigators said the shooting was part of a drug-related robbery attempt.
Tracy Solomon, a returning contestant on “Dancing With the Tri-Cities Stars”, just finished his first dance routine that night.
He explained, he left the ballroom to go to another room, so he could get his wife a jacket. Solomon said, as he walked down the hallway, he suddenly heard gunshots coming from the floor above him.
As a former member of the military, he said he knew exactly what to do and wasted no time.
“I heard gunshots on the third floor directly above me. To me, it sounded like a .45 caliber handgun going off twice.” And i heard footsteps after the gunshots were fired,” Tracy Solomon said. “I ran up to the front desk and alerted the gentleman there that there were shots fired,” he said.
Kingsport police described the shooting as a drug-related armed robbery.
“This particular situation took place in the hotel side, on one particular hallway,” public information officer, Tom Patton explained. “Very early in the investigation, we learned that the main culprit who had fired the shots had actually left the scene.”
Despite the gunfire and police investigation, the dancing continued without interruption.
Solomon explained the event is one of his favorite parts of the year. “The event as sold out; approximately 500 folks there for a great cause,” the returning champion said.
MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort and Convention Center altered hotel guests to stay in place.
“People curious as to what was going on. And most of them, once they were told the basic gist of why we were there, they were very understanding and accommodating,” Patton said.
“The conference center has its own doors between the two. So that was my immediate response was trying to get those doors closed and barricaded,” Solomon said. “Protect my family and friends.”
Solomon said he is thankful for how the Kingsport Police Department handled the situation.
“Instructed the hotel to announce over the speakers that everyone remain in their room, etc. Totally the right call. We went on about our business in the conference hall,” Solomon said.
MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center issued a statement to News Channel 11, Monday afternoon:
“Local and state authorities continue to investigate an altercation in a guest room hallway Saturday evening. We are grateful to the authorities for their response, and are assisting them as appropriate.
Meanwhile, our hotel has returned to normal business.”
-Ramona Jackson, General Manager