10/06 Twice A Victim

Twice A Victim

Gene Kennedy

On May 23, 2005, at 1319 hours, the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch, received a 911 call about a shooting at Guns & Leather Gun Shop in Greenbrier, Tennessee. Chief Richard Hatfield and Assistant Chief Jeffrey Pennington of the Greenbrier Police Department responded to the call.

When they arrived on the scene, Officer Eric Putman was there and a white male was being treated by Emergency Medical Staff. The person being treated was Courtney Hall, II [See photo #1 below]. He was un-responsive but breathing.

Assistant Chief Pennington noticed a revolver at the lower right pant leg of Mr. Hall [See photo #2 below]. It appeared that the revolver had fallen from the waist of Mr. Hall [this firearm was later tested and had the fingerprints of Mr. Hall / [See photo #3 below] Assistant Chief Pennington located the shooter and seized his pistol and holster. After securing the weapon, he began his investigation of the shooting.

Results Of The Investigation

According to case report 05-0731, Mr. Hall came into Guns & Leather and asked to speak to Dennis Williams the owner, about trading a 30/30 Winchester Model 94. He was told that Mr. Williams was not there but, he was expected back in about one (1) hour. Mr. Hall then started to walk around in the store.

About the same time, one of the store employees noticed that some handguns seemed to be missing from the display case. While still looking for the handguns, the same employee noticed a tag hanging down from the back of Mr. Hall’s shirt. The tag is what Guns & Leather uses to put the information on guns they sell.

The employee fearing that Mr. Hall had a loaded gun on him, drew his sidearm and told Mr. Hall to remove the gun from his pants. A different store employee then reached over the display case and grabbed Mr. Halls shirt revealing guns tucked in the waist of his pants. A struggle occurred between the store employee and Mr. Hall who was trying to break away from the employee’s grasp. The glass display counter was shoved back towards the employee and some of the guns in Mr. Hall’s pants fell out as did some of the guns in the display case [See photo #4 below].

Shots Fired & Vehicle Searched At The Scene

When Mr. Hall broke loose from the un-armed employee he was struggling with, he moved his hand towards his waistband. The store employee who had drew his sidearm, fearing that Mr. Hall was about to draw a gun to shoot the un-armed employee, fired one round into the side of Mr. Hall. Mr. Hall dropped to one knee but immediately rose up and headed towards the exit.

The un-armed employee pursued him towards the exit. Mr. Hall again reached for his waistband as the un-armed employee screamed “drop the gun”. The armed employee again fearing that Mr. Hall was about to draw a gun and shoot the un-armed employee, fired a second shot into Mr. Hall. Mr. Hall fell to the floor face down and that was where Officer Eric Putman saw him when he arrived on the scene. Mr. Hall was transported by Life Flight to Vanderbilt Hospital where he died from his injuries.

Mr. Hall’s vehicle [See photo #5 below] was searched at the scene of the shooting. More firearms having tags on them from Guns & Leather and also ammunition from Guns & Leather were found in the vehicle [See photo #6 & #7 below].

Trouble On That Day Or Another Day

On May 24, 2005, Mr. Hall’s mother informed the police in a telephone conversation, that her son had told her he did not want to live any longer. He did not want to take his own life but, he was thinking about “suicide by cop”. Some have suggested that the large amount of firearms stolen and the ammunition found in his vehicle, pointed to some type of confrontation that Mr. Hall may have been planning. No one knows what might have occurred if Mr. Hall was able to gat away with stealing the firearms and the ammo from Guns & Ammo.

Two Separate Investigations & Two Grand Juries

There have been two (2) separate investigations of this shooting incident. The first was conducted by the Greenbrier Police Department. The second was conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations. The T.B.I. investigation was conducted when the family of Mr. Hall made accusations thru their attorney William Underhill, regarding the original investigation done by the Greenbrier Police Department. Because of this, District Attorney John W. Carney, Jr., 19th District, requested a new investigation by T.B.I. [See photo #8 below].

On July 21, 2005, a Grand Jury after being presented with the results of the Greenbrier Police Department investigation, ruled that “no action” would be taken as the any criminal charges resulting in the death of Courtney Hall, II.

A second Grand Jury like the first, after being presented with the results of the T.B.I. investigation, agreed “no action” should be taken pertaining to any criminal charges arising out the the death of Courtney Hall, II.

Is It Over?

After two (2) Grand Jury Panels have reached the same conclusion of “no action”, it is highly un-likely that another Grand Jury will be requested. However, in Tennessee a third Grand Jury could be requested.

When something like this incident occurs, it is hard on everyone involved including the family of the person killed. This shooting incident has been extremely hard on the employees of Guns & Leather. When the first news stories broke almost every news media outlet had their own segment about what happened. Since the first stories of the shooting, the main stream media has been “mute” as to the “no action” ruled by both Grand Juries.

Not one of the employees of Guns & Leather came to work that fateful day thinking they would be in a situation involving a shooting. It is hard to get over this type of incident. Working in a gun store is dangerous. Employees and owners of gun stores are not wearing a sidearm to show off their merchandise. They are wearing a side arm to help them stay alive.

Lets hope that this incident is over for everyone concerned.

Twice A Victim: There is civil litigation still going on by the family against Guns & Leather.