SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A man wanted for murder after a Gray shooting was pronounced dead at the scene due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a chase involving Sullivan County deputies.

Chief Deputy Leighta Laitinen of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the suspect involved in the chase was Ralph Davenport.

Davenport was sought for homicide after a shooting near Gray on Tuesday. Davenport had been charged with 1st-degree murder in the death of Leslie Dawn Belt, 43.

The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office said the chase on Thursday ended after Davenport shot himself while involved in the chase.

Authorities said in a news conference that more than 20 cars were involved in the chase, which lasted about 20 minutes.

WCSO reports that around 8 a.m. Thursday, a concerned citizen of Kingsport contacted the Kingsport Police Department claiming to have information on Davenport.

The citizen told investigators that Davenport had changed vehicles and was no longer in the white van. While the interview was still going on, the Kingsport Police Department located the vehicle Davenport was in and the chase began.

The vehicle Davenport was driving during the pursuit is believed to have been stolen, according to investigators.

After Davenport entered the unincorporated area of Sullivan County on Highway 11W, Sullivan County deputies became involved.

According to WCSO, Davenport leaned out of the window and shot himself in the head during the chase, causing the vehicle to crash and flip near JH Fauver Road.

Latinen says Davenport was pronounced dead due to the self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Investigators say they have reason to believe the weapon Davenport used to kill himself was weapon used during the murder of Belt.

Davenport was placed on federal probation in September 2018.


A police chase in Sullivan County ended after a suspect “apparently shot himself and wrecked,” according to the sheriff’s office.

According to a release from the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, the pursuit began Thursday morning and involved the Kingsport Police Department.

The chase entered the unincorporated area of the county and deputies became involved in the pursuit.

The release says the chase ended on Highway 11W near the intersection of JH Fauver Road after the suspect appears to have shot himself and wrecked.

The identity of the suspect and his condition were not released.