ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — Neither man involved in a fight and shooting at the Stateline Market Aug. 7 will be charged, Elizabethton Police Department (EPD) reports show.
Those reports show the man who was shot was the primary aggressor and that witnesses said while arguing with the other man, who had drawn a gun, he said “your [expletive] won’t do anything.”
Witnesses also reported the man without the weapon hit the other man in the face several times after initially turning away from their face-to-face argument. As the armed man was falling to the ground, he fired a shot that hit the other man in the hip and exited without causing serious injury.
Video footage from store cameras confirmed the multiple witness statements.
Sgt. Mike Commons took over the investigation and interviewed the man who’d been shot at the hospital, where he was treated and released for minor injuries. The man told Commons “he did not know the name of the individual who shot him.”
The next day (Aug. 8) First Judicial District Assistant Attorney General Dennis Brooks reviewed store video and said the office’s initial response was to decline prosecution. Commons’ note says “the video shows (the shooting victim) attacking (the shooter).”
The shooting victim came to Commons’ office that same day and after Commons told him about his conversation with Brooks, the man asked whether he was going to be charged with assault.
“I advised him not at this time and (he) stated he understood and that if there is a next time he will use better judgment and just leave,” Commons wrote in his case notes. “I informed him that would be the best policy.”
It wasn’t until Aug. 22 that police were able to interview the shooter. He told them he’d gone to the market and “was halfway to the store when he heard someone yelling at him.”
He said the assailant charged toward him and that the man was angry about the shooter’s cousin sleeping with the man’s wife. He said he pulled his .45-caliber pistol and showed it to the yelling man, who allegedly said “you aren’t going to do [expletive] with that.”
The shooter then pocketed the pistol but pulled it back out when being punched and fired one round, he told Commons, adding that “he wasn’t trying to kill (the man) just defend himself and get (the man) off of him.”