Officials investigating bizarre shooting report

Posted on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 10:55 pm

Cocke County authorities released information Friday in connection with an alleged shooting of a Blount County man on his Cosby property on Feb. 4.

Detectives Kevin Benton and Pam Wilson are working with Sevierville police to piece together details of the case.

They said Lionel Gene Herndon, 65, of Maryville drove to the McDonald’s restaurant at Exit 407 of Interstate-40 at 2:30 p.m., where he told restaurant workers that he had been shot in the back.

Herndon appeared to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and he refused to cooperate with investigators. He also refused to turn over the keys to his vehicle.

Herndon had a bag of pills on his person, and officers, while processing the auto, found marijuana cigarettes and liquor bottles. In addition, a sawed off shotgun was found in a hidden compartment in the truck, cut down to fit the size of the opening.

The injured man was sent to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for treatment of bird shot in his back and buttocks, and he told the officers he had the gun lying on the tailgate of his truck while on his property on Greasy Cove Road.

He said he didn’t see anyone at the property and did not know who had shot him.

He also told the investigators that none of his property was taken.

Initially Herndon refused to give the officers permission to review his medical records or give his cell phone number but he later gave both.

The investigators said the case is unusual because Herndon drove past one clinic and two hospitals after being shot; he packed up all his belongings at the site and then drove 40 miles before reporting he had been shot, after ordering a cup of coffee. In addition he had a number of intoxicants with him at the time he reported the incident.

The investigation into the incident is continuing.

- By Ray Snader, Tribune Correspondent

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