KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Investigators are working to determine what led to two different shootings in the same area of Kingsport on Sunday night, with one shooting involving a law enforcement officer.
KPD Public Information Officer Tom Patton said it was a coincidence that both shooting incidents took place around the same time and location along Virgil Avenue in the Lynn Garden community.
“It would not be unusual for two crime scenes to intersect, or maybe a wreck scene and a crime scene to intersect if it was on a major thoroughfare. But this kind of happened on a side street off of Lynn Garden. So it was very unusual for it to happen at that location,” said Patton.
At 9:50 p.m. Sunday night, KPD was called to the scene of a shooting near a church on Virgil Avenue. Upon arrival, they found all parties involved had left the scene. A police report says there was blood in the street near a shell casing and a hatchet.
“Several individuals had met at that location to resolve some sort of disagreement. They were known to each other. The disagreement kind of went south. It got heated, it became physical, resulted in a shooting,” said Patton.
Police learned one shooting victim, identified as Michael Cronan, had been taken to the hospital to seek treatment for a gunshot wound. Patton said the injuries were non-life-threatening.
“We still don’t have the individual who fired the shot positively identified. So we are hoping that some people will maybe come forward and give us some additional information,” he said.
Neighbors reported hearing the initial gunshots and said they saw multiple people get into a car that sped off.
“It was very crazy, that’s for sure. And we heard a man yell with the first gunshots, and then we heard a woman yelling about his bleeding, so it was definitely upsetting,” said Jacob Bledsoe, who lives nearby.
Meanwhile, an unrelated police chase had begun in Hawkins County.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reported the pursuit started just after 9:30 p.m., when a Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office deputy and an officer with the Mount Carmel Police Department noticed a stolen SUV that was the subject of a BOLO (Be On the Lookout) traveling along Highway 11W.
According to the TBI, the SUV driver refused a traffic stop that officers initiated. This led to a chase into Kingsport where the SUV encountered the blocked roadway from the initial Virgil Avenue shooting investigation. A Sullivan County deputy was on scene assisting the KPD.
“At that point, the driver of the vehicle did not stop and reportedly drove toward those officers, nearly striking them. The Sullivan County deputy fired shots, striking the driver,” said Leslie Earhart of the TBI.
The SUV then crashed into a light pole on the 200 block of Virgil Avenue. The driver, a 17-year-old juvenile, was taken to the hospital and remains there, according to the TBI. None of the four other people in the SUV were seriously injured. No officers were injured either.
News Channel 11 also reached out to the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office on the officer-involved shooting. SCSO Captain Andy Seabolt said they could not comment regarding the investigation being conducted under the TBI, but confirmed the officer involved is on administrative leave.
“It is the policy of this agency that anytime an officer is involved in this type of incident that he or she be placed on administrative leave for a period of at least three days. Administrative leave is not punitive, and, as I stated, this is the policy of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office,” Seabolt said in an email.