Shooting suspect turns self in to police

A Cocke County man who had been sought in a New Year’s Eve shooting incident at the Rankin boat ramp was taken into custody Thursday.

Tommy Lee Rice 39, Baysinger Road, Newport, contacted Third District Constable Nathan White and surrendered.

The sheriff’s department had asked for the help of the public in capturing Rice, who allegedly shot Cody Jordan Reed, 25, White Road, Newport, in the leg with a sawed-off shotgun at close range. Reed also had been struck on the head with the weapon, leaving a facial injury

Rice then fled the scene in a Green Chevy Truck prior to law enforcement’s arrival. Reed was found lying behind a home on Bybee Road, where he had run after the shooting. He was taken by First Call EMS to the Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System for surgery.

On New Year’s Day, authorities went to a church parking lot on reports a green Chevy was parked behind the church. Rice allegedly fled from the vehicle into a nearby wooded area. Beside the truck was a backpack containing his personal property, as well as a sawed-off shotgun. Investigators attempted to track Rice through the woods with K9 units but were unable to locate the suspect.

Detective Capt. Eric Ramsey said Rice was already wanted prior to the incident on a probation violation and now is charged additionally with attempted first degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, armed dangerous felonies, illegal possession of a weapon, and additional charges.

On Wednesday, Selisa Kelsey, 34, Myers Circle, Newport, was arrested on a warrant obtained by Detective Lt. Michael Whitmer charging her with accessory after the fact.

Kelsey admitted Rice had spent the night in her home on New Year’s Day, and the following morning she took him to a restaurant at the Dandridge exit of I-40.

The warrant alleges Kelsey had viewed a social media post that detailed the search for Rice, prior to him spending the night at her residence.