Handguns, rifle part stolen in gun store burglary

Mt. Juliet police are investigating a burglary at Guns and Ammo on North Mt. Juliet Road last Wednesday in which 15 handguns and a rifle part were stolen.

Mark Bellew • All Hands Fire Photos
Mt. Juliet police are investigating a burglary at Guns and Ammo on North Mt. Juliet Road last Wednesday in which 15 handguns and a rifle part were stolen.

Officers were dispatched to the gun store after the burglar alarm system activated at about 12:30 a.m. Police arrived within moments of the initial dispatch to find damage to the front glass of the business.

Police believe unknown suspects burst through the front glass of the store and stole the weapons.

Detectives responded to the scene to gather evidence in hopes of leading them to the suspects. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting in the investigation.

Surveillance footage showed possible suspects parking across the street from the gun store near Suntrust Bank before the burglary. Police hope someone in the community will recognize the vehicle, which appears to be a white Kia Optima four-door sedan.

Police will release more information about the incident as the investigation continues.

The ATF and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry, offered a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the theft of firearms.

The ATF reward is up to $2,500, and that will be matched by the NSSF for a total reward of up to $5,000. The reward is part of a larger national cooperation initiative.

Anyone with information about the crime should contact Mt. Juliet police at 615-754-2550 or the ATF at 800-283-4867. Information may also be given anonymously by calling the tip line at 615-754-8477 or at mjpd.org.

Staff Reports

Stolen truck chase ends in crash

Driver runs away, leaves injured passenger behind

Photo courtesy of Mt. Juliet police
A stolen truck chase ended in a crash Saturday night on Hobson Pike near Smith Springs Parkway.

A stolen truck chase ended in a crash Saturday night on Hobson Pike near Smith Springs Parkway, according to Mt. Juliet police.

Mt. Juliet police dispatch received a call at 7:38 p.m. from a concerned citizen about a woman running away from Target at 401 S. Mt. Juliet Road with a lot of merchandise. The caller told police he felt as if the woman had just stolen the items, and she jumped into the passenger side of a truck in the Target parking lot.

The caller described the truck and gave its tag number to dispatchers, who found the truck was stolen Saturday from Robertson County.

Dispatchers then relayed the information to officers in the area, and one officer spotted the stolen truck.

After spotting the stolen struck on South Mt. Juliet Road near Providence Parkway, the officer tried to stop it. However, the driver did not stop and ran from the officer at high speeds. The truck’s driver continued to drive recklessly as the officer continued to chase it. At one point, the driver crossed into oncoming traffic and hit a car head on. The stolen truck driver ran away from the crash scene and left an injured woman passenger behind, according to police.

Metro-Nashville officers immediately responded to the scene and assisted in the search of the driver who fled. The driver was not found. The woman passenger in the stolen truck was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s emergency room in stable condition. The man driving the car that was hit head on was taken to Vanderbilt in critical condition.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol responded to the scene. Troopers are investigating the circumstances surrounding the crash. Mt. Juliet police officers continued to investigate the circumstances surrounding the stolen truck and apparent theft at Target.

Mt. Juliet police Chief James Hambrick announced Monday afternoon he tasked the department’s investigative division with the case.

“I’ve assigned this case to our investigative division because I want to ensure the complete resources and capabilities of our department are utilized to quickly identify and apprehend the driver,” Hambrick said. “It is obvious that this individual is dangerous and has no regard to safety of our community. He needs to be apprehended and held responsible.”

Video footage of the pursuit was captured on the pursuing officer’s in-car camera system, and police officials plan to release the video as soon as possible and when deemed appropriate as not to hinder the ongoing investigation.

Staff Reports

City honors Run for the Wall participants

More than 500 veterans ride motorcycles to Washington

Photo courtesy of Facebook
Mt. Juliet fire Chief Jamie Luffman and his department’s firefighters set up on the Beckwith Road overpass at Interstate 40 to honor participants in Run For the Wall, a group of more than 500 veterans who ride motorcycles from California to Washington, D.C.

Mt. Juliet firefighters, police officers and citizens gathered to honor members of Run For the Wall on May 22.

Ride For the Wall consists of more than 500 veterans who ride motorcycles from California to Washington, D.C. to honor veterans killed while serving, as well as promote awareness to those missing in action.

A post was set up on the Beckwith Road overpass at Interstate 40, the route used by the motorcyclists. All those who came out waved to the veterans as they rode past.

Run For the Wall was started in 1989 by James Gregory and Bill Evans, two Vietnam veterans who traveled across American on motorcycles.

There’s a small charge for those who participate in the run, plus they pay their own expenses such as lodging. Organizations and people met along the way often offer support in the form of donations or free meals.

The trip is a 10-day ride from Ontario, Calif. to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., where the ride officially ends.

During the journey across the country, the group makes stops at memorials, veterans’ hospitals and schools.

Participants range in age from 8 to 80, and include fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers; veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan; active duty military; supporters; friends and family.

For more information about Run For the Wall, visit rftw.us.

Staff Reports

Shepard trial set for November

Ex-Wilson Central coach’s case granted continuance previous six times

Michael Shepard

A criminal trial date was set May 23 in the case of Michael Shepard, a former teacher and softball coach at Wilson Central High School who was charged last summer with statutory rape.

The trial is scheduled for Nov. 15-17, with motions set for July 11.

Shepard, 36, previously pleaded not guilty to two counts of statutory rape by an authority figure.

A continuance was granted in Shepard’s case the previous six times he was scheduled to appear before Judge Brody Kane in Wilson County criminal court.

Shepard was arrested at his home in July 2016. The Wilson County Board of Education accepted resignation during a July 2016 special called meeting, which was held to bring charges against Shepard for termination since he was a tenured teacher at the school.

Shepard was relieved of his coaching duties after he became the center of an investigation.

According to Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan, the criminal investigation also involved a student at the school, but the details weren’t released.

Shepard taught algebra and geometry at Wilson Central from 2009-2016. His first season as head coach of the softball team was 2010.

The Lady Wildcats had a state championship appearance in 2014 and won the Class AAA state championship in 2015 with Shepard as head coach.

By: Jake Old


Investigation complete in bicyclist struck by car incident

Photo courtesy of Mt. Juliet police
Officers completed their investigation into the circumstances surrounding a bicyclist who was struck by a car Thursday on North Mt. Juliet Road.

Officers completed their investigation into the circumstances surrounding a bicyclist who was struck by a car Thursday on North Mt. Juliet Road.

Officers were called at about 5:10 p.m. to the intersection of North Mt. Juliet Road and Charlie Daniels Parkway, regarding a crash that involved a bicyclist.

The investigation revealed the bicyclist, Phillip Harrell, 54, of Mt. Juliet, was crossing across North Mt. Juliet Road at the intersection at Charlie Daniels Parkway with a green light. While the bicyclist was crossing the intersection, a car driven by Mary Leaver, 29, of Mt. Juliet, was turning from Charlie Daniels Parkway to head south on North Mt. Juliet Road with a green light. While turning south, Leaver hit Harrell with her car, which caused him to fall off the bicycle, strike the windshield and land on the pavement. Leaver was cited for failure to yield.

Paramedics took Harrell by ambulance to TriStar Summit Medical Center in Hermitage with non-life-threatening injuries.

Staff Reports

Chief talks opioids with chamber

Xavier Smith • Mt. Juliet News
Mt. Juliet police Chief James Hambrick speaks to the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday about opioid abuse in the city and county. Hambrick said the department is committed to curb use and abuse of deadly opioids.

Mt. Juliet police Chief James Hambrick discussed deadly opioid use Wednesday with the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce in hopes of curbing the issue in the area.

“We do have something today to talk about that impacts all of us. Unfortunately, if I were at a church talking to a church group, we’d be saying the same thing, because what we’re talking about today impacts us all,” Hambrick said.

He said opioid abuse is prevalent in the country, state, county and Mt. Juliet.

“It has no boundaries as it relates to a social or economic standing. No barriers as it relates to race, church affiliation or anything like that. It’s real and prevalent in Mt. Juliet and Wilson County,” he said.

Hambrick said Mt. Juliet has seen several overdose deaths in recent years as drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the country. Hambrick said there were about 52,000 in 2015, with about 20,000 related to prescription pain relief and about 13,000 related to heroin.

“We know we’ve been on some calls where individuals still have the needle in their arm. People are crying out for help. They need help,” said Hambrick, who said he believes the 2016 figures will show an increase in deaths.

Hambrick said another danger people don’t think about is leftover prescription pills in homes. He said any medication that won’t be used in the future should be disposed of, noting the Mt. Juliet police station has a collection bin in their lobby.

He said officers have to be more careful now when dealing with drugs because the dangers of accidental exposure to drugs, such as fentanyl, has increased dramatically.

Hambrick said the number individuals making their own pills – many of which contain deadly fentanyl – and selling them as others has increased recently, as well. He said the department is committed to taking down drug dealers and getting help for those who need it.

“Our goal is to certainly get people the help they need,” he said. “We’re committed as the Mt. Juliet Police Department. I’m committed as your police chief to trying to get folks help.”

By Xavier Smith


One killed in Thursday night wreck

One fatality and one injury were reported in a single-vehicle accident on Saundersville Road in Mt. Juliet on Thursday night, according to a preliminary report from Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Joshua Kerns, 39, of Joelton, was killed in the crash and Kimberly Bateman, 42, of Mt. Juliet was injured. The incident was reported at about 11:23 p.m.

According to the report, the 2005 Chevy Colorado, driven by Kerns, was traveling westbound on Saundersville Road and going around a curve. The vehicle crossed the center lane and traveled off the left side of the roadway.

After going off the road, the vehicle hit a utility pole head on, where it came to a stop.

Neither person in the vehicle wore a seatbelt. According to the report, the responding officer believed the use of a seatbelt would have made a difference.

Next of kin was notified. According to the report, there are no plans for a follow-up report or further investigation into the incident.

By Jake Old


Coach indicted on child sex crimes

He faces statutory rape, sexual battery by an authority figure, other charges

Darin Plumlee

A Wilson County grand jury indicted Darin Plumlee, a teacher and wrestling coach at Mt. Juliet High School, on child sex charges.

Plumlee faces three counts of statutory rape by an authority figure, three counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and one count each of unlawful sexual contact and sexual exploitation of a minor.

Plumlee turned himself in Friday at the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office. He was booked in at the Wilson County Jail and released on $10,000 bond.

Detectives with the sheriff’s office launched an investigation into Plumlee in April after a student made complaints about inappropriate behavior.

According to Jennifer Johnson, spokesperson for Wilson County Schools, a student called in a tip to the school April 13 and said it was believed Plumlee was having inappropriate relationships with some of his students and/or wrestlers.  The human resources department and school resource officer were notified at that time.

Plumlee resigned immediately. The school system notified the state, and his license was put on hold, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Plumlee was hired in 2000 to be a wrestling coach and teacher at Lebanon High School. In June 2011, Plumlee resigned to work for another school system.

In July 2014, Plumlee was hired to be a special education teacher and assistant wrestling coach at Mt. Juliet High School.

Plumlee’s disciplinary record was clean, except for a written reprimand that he received for going 70 mph in a 55 mph zone in September 2010.

By Jake Old


Police leaders jump with Golden Knights

Photo courtesy of Facebook
In show of support for the U.S. Armed Forces, Mt. Juliet police Chief James Hambrick jumps out of a perfectly good airplane with members of the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team.

In show of support for the U.S. Armed Forces, Mt. Juliet police Chief James Hambrick and Lt. Tyler Chandler jumped out of a perfectly good airplane with members of the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team.

Both Hambrick and Chandler skydived April 24 with members of the Golden Knights. Prior to the jump, Hambrick and Chandler underwent introduction, training, and a fitting for a jumpsuit.

“The purpose of this event is to recognize individuals in the community who represent the Army values and create lasting partnerships to support both organizations,” said U.S. Army Recruiting Co. Nashville Cmdr. Anita Brooks prior to the jump. “This event will allow community leaders to participate in a tandem jump with the Golden Knights, the U.S. Army Parachute Team.”

Photo courtesy of Facebook
In show of support for the U.S. Armed Forces, Mt. Juliet police Lt. Tyler Chandler jumped out of a perfectly good airplane with members of the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team.

Hambrick and Chandler were nominated by the Nashville Recruiting Battalion to represent the Mt. Juliet Army Recruiting Center. The event took place at Outlaw Field in Clarksville.

Staff Reports

Man arrested after charging reporter and news crew with ax

A suspect is out on bond after Mt. Juliet police said he charged a reporter and accompanying news crew with a large ax.

An officer was summoned to Mt. Juliet police headquarters Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. concerning an incident that happened in the front yard of a home at 1440 Nonaville Road. Three men who work with News Channel 5 investigates team, wanted to ensure local police were aware about a dangerous encounter they just experienced while working on a story about a squatter.

The investigation revealed the victims attempted to question a man, identified as Jude Pischke, 46, of Mt. Juliet, in the front yard of a home at 1440 Nonaville Road. During the brief encounter, Pischke became angry, aggressive and threatened the victims.

A video recording of the incident further revealed Pischke retrieved a large ax from the bed of a nearby pickup truck, lifted the ax back in a swinging position and aggressively charged toward the victims. The victims also said as they rushed to leave in their vehicle, Pischke got into his vehicle and drove it aggressively toward them. The victims immediately drove to police headquarters to report the incident after the encounter.

Officers received warrants for Pischke’s arrest, and he was found at about 6:15 p.m. while leaving 1440 Nonaville Road. Officers conducted a traffic stop and arrested Pischke without incident.

He was booked in at the Wilson County Jail, charged with three counts of aggravated assault and three counts of reckless endangerment. He was released on $6,000 bond Wednesday evening.

Staff Reports

Agencies team to curb Wrecks on prom night

Local emergency service agencies and Mt. Juliet High School officials teamed up Thursday to highlight the dangers of distracted and intoxicated driving as the school prepared for prom Saturday.

Mt. Juliet police and firefighters, Wilson County Emergency Management Agency and Vanderbilt University Medical Center LifeFlight, along with Mt. Juliet High School future health professionals class and drama students, put on a reality-based portrayal of a car crash and the subsequent response by first responders, emergency medical personnel and law enforcement.

The students received a firsthand experience of what they could be responsible for, including killing someone, possibly one of their friends, as well as arrested for crimes as serious as vehicular homicide.

The mock crash is also meant to serve as a reminder for parents and guardians to talk to their teens about the consequences of bad driving behavior.

“This weekend is supposed to be the best night of your life. This is not how you want it to end. I hope that each one of you will take a lesson from this exercise, use good judgment and do not drink,” said Mt. Juliet fire Chief Jamie Luffman.

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study, 10 percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. Teens are the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crashes.

By Xavier Smith


Suspect charged in heroin investigation

A joint operation by Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Drug Investigation Division special agents and the Tennessee Highway Patrol SWAT Team, with the support from Mt. Juliet police narcotics investigators, resulted in the arrest of an Old Hickory man on a drug-related charge that involved heroin.

During the months-long investigation, agents developed information that heroin was sold at a home at 10454 Central Pike in Mt. Juliet. Authorities from TBI and THP executed search warrants Wednesday at two homes, the one on Central Pike and a home at 3305 East Yorkshire Court in Old Hickory. At both locations, authorities seized narcotics and drug paraphernalia. During Wednesday’s activities, authorities also arrested James Donte Burns, a resident of the East Yorkshire Court home.

Burns, 37, was charged with one count of possession with intent to deliver. He was booked in Wednesday at the Wilson County Jail and released Thursday on $20,000 bond.

Agents said the investigation remained active and ongoing.

Sheriff, SROs taking applications for Camp Victory

Sheriff Robert Bryan and Wilson County school resource officers are accepting applications for Camp Victory, a three-day-long half-day nationally known camp to help students learn to cope with bullying and problems such as spotting potential online predators to peaceful conflict-resolution.

“The goal of the camp is to help our young people manage possible problems they are faced with on a daily basis, both in and out of school,” Bryan said. “Our young people today face so many more problems in a technologically-savvy world than many of us faced in school. Our SRO team wants to provide students with the tools they need to learn how to maturely manage problems and build self-confidence while avoiding becoming victims.”

Instruction areas will include such topics as bullying; online predators; drug and alcohol awareness; confidence building, team-building exercises; a tour of the jail; and examination of the juvenile court system.

The classes will be held July 17-19 from 8 a.m. until noon and also from noon until 4 p.m. for 25 qualifying students in each session. Eligibility requirements include any male or female with a good disciplinary school record and good attendance record. Any male or female going into grades six through eight for the 2017-2018 school year will be considered.

The cost is free to any qualifying students. This year, students will receive lunch each day in partnership with the Lebanon Special School District’s Family Resource Center.

For more information, contact a local SRO or the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office.

Staff Reports

Reported crimes increases statewide, down in Wilson

The total number of reported crimes in Tennessee rose slightly from 2015-2016, while decreasing slightly in Wilson County, according to data released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The TBI released its annual crime reporting data Thursday, with information reported from every law enforcement agency throughout the state during 2016.

According to data reported by the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Lebanon Police Department, Mt. Juliet Police Department and law enforcement at Cumberland University and Cedars of Lebanon State Park, the crime rate countywide was similar in 2015 and 2016, with a lower amount of reported violent crimes in 2016.

In 2016, the number of reported murders decreased from six countywide in 2015 to just one in 2016. The number of reported forcible rape incidents slightly declined from 21 to 18.

In 2016, a total of 6,531 offenses of all types were reported in Wilson County throughout the reporting agencies. Of those reported offenses, 2,992 were cleared, or about 45.8 percent.

Last year shows a slight decline in total offenses compared to 2015, when a total of 6,622 offenses were reported. In 2015, 3,046 of the total offenses, or 46 percent, were cleared.

Statewide, the number of reported crimes slightly increased, according to the TBI report.

From 2015 to 2016, reported murders increased 11.6 percent. Reported forcible rape offenses decreased by 2.8 percent in that same time period. 

Drug and narcotic offenses increased by 9.5 percent statewide in 2016. In Wilson County, drug and narcotic offenses increased from 770 drug violations and 340 drug equipment violations in 2015 to 807 drug violations and 439 drug equipment violations in 2016.

The number of people arrested in connection to reported crimes statewide decreased by 1.9 percent in 2016.

Of the total offenses reported in Wilson County in 2016, 1,761 were under the jurisdiction of the sheriff’s office, 3,242 were handled by Lebanon police, 1,458 were Mt. Juliet police, 55 were Watertown police, five were Cumberland University police and 10 were at Cedars of Lebanon State Park.

The TBI warns against drawing direct comparisons among reporting agencies as many different variables can contribute to the total number and type of offenses reported in an area, as well as the rate at which offenses are cleared. Many of these variables are beyond an individual agency’s control, TBI officials said.

Agencies throughout the state are required to submit data to the TBI each year. This year, a few agencies have incomplete reporting, though none of those agencies are in Wilson County.

For the first time in four years, all agencies in Tennessee are compliant with reporting. Tennessee is one of 16 states reporting 100 percent compliance.

“We’re extremely thankful for our dedicated law enforcement partners,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “Together, they helped us compile a thorough snapshot of crime in Tennessee.”

Information released by the TBI is publicly accessible and may be found online at tncrimeonline.com.

By Jake Old


Gun goes off at church

A gun was accidentally discharged in a Wilson County church Easter Sunday, according to Lt. Scott Moore with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office.

There were no injuries in the incident.

About 40-50 people were in The Glade Church at the time of the incident, Moore said. The weapon apparently discharged while the gun owner, who had a carry permit, stood at a guest services desk.

The gun was in the gun owner’s left pocket, and it is not clear if something else was in the pocket and caused the gun to fire, Moore said.

The bullet went through the floor and caused damage to the carpet. It did not hit anyone, including the gun owner.

“It was on Easter Sunday, so of course it’s going to be a crowded church,” Moore said. “This is one of those situations where, as a gun owner, with great power comes great responsibility. A permit-holder is legally and ethically responsible for every single bullet fired out of a weapon. Fortunately, no one was hurt.” 

The investigation is considered ongoing, and the gun owner was not immediately identified.

“Investigators will consult with the district attorney on any possible charges that may stem from this incident,” Moore said.

By Jake Old


Nashville man arrested after standoff

Mt. Juliet police charged a Nashville man following an incident last Monday evening in which he barricaded himself inside a Mt. Juliet home.

Christopher Phelps, 35, was charged with evading arrest, resisting arrest, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell.

According to a report from Mt. Juliet police, the incident ended peacefully.

Phelps was in possession of about 16 grams of meth and drug paraphernalia at the time of the arrest. 

An officer attempted to stop Phelps, who was known to have an active warrant for his arrest, as he came outside of a home in the 1000 block of Chatsworth Drive at about 8 p.m.

Phelps did not stop, and instead ran back into the home and barricaded himself inside.

Mt. Juliet crisis negotiators and special response team members responded to the scene.

Officials determined there was woman willingly inside the home with Phelps, and she came out of the home at the request of a crisis negotiator.

Crisis negotiators continued communicating with Phelps for an extended amount of time to try and get him to surrender. 

The special response team eventually deployed a gas irritant similar to pepper spray into the home. Phelps peacefully surrendered to police, and the scene was cleared Tuesday morning at about 3:30 a.m.

According to booking records, Phelps was booked in at the Wilson County Jail on Tuesday at 5:21 a.m. As of Tuesday afternoon, he remained in custody on $10,000 bond.

By Jake Old


High-speed chase goes through Wilson Co., Nashville

A high-speed police chase that involved Metro-Nashville officers and, temporarily, Mt. Juliet police officers, ended last Wednesday morning in Nashville with no reported injuries.

The car involved in the chase was previously reported stolen. Officers apparently attempted to stop the vehicle before the chase began.

According to Mt. Juliet police Lt. Tyler Chandler, the department had limited involvement in the incident.

As the driver fled police in Nashville, he got off Interstate 40 at the Beckwith Road exit, and at that time, a few Mt. Juliet officers joined the pursuit as it went through the Mt. Juliet city limits.

After going through Mt. Juliet, the driver turned around and drove back toward Nashville. Metro police later found the vehicle abandoned in Nashville.

By Jake Old


Police seek suspects in armed robberies in Mt. Juliet

Mt. Juliet police have responded to multiple armed robbery incidents in recent days, and police believe the incidents may be related, according to reports from the Mt. Juliet Police Department.

In each incident, the suspect was described as a thin black male, believed to be a teenager, though police believe there could be several suspects working together.

On Monday morning, police began investigating an armed robbery that happened in the Hickory Hills subdivision, according to Mt. Juliet police Lt. Tyler Chandler.

At about 11:40 a.m., a pizza delivery driver was robbed at gunpoint after making a delivery in the 2700 block of Leesa Ann Lane.

“As he was leaving the home and walking back to his car, he was robbed by a black male teen,” Chandler said.

The suspect was armed with a handgun and demanded the victim’s wallet. No other items were taken in the incident, Chandler said.

The robbery suspect was described as a thin black male, believed to be a teenager, wearing a brown hooded sweatshirt and red shoes. He was last seen running towards the woods off Leesa Ann Lane and New London Court.

The suspect then apparently ran to a vehicle, and further information confirmed the suspect fled the neighborhood in a black small to mid-sized SUV.

Citizens also reported hearing gunshots in the area at the time of the armed robbery, however it is unknown if the robbery and gunshots are connected. No one was injured during the incident.

Police started an active search for the suspect on Monday in the immediate aftermath of the incident. Police searched for the suspect on foot with the help of K-9 search dogs from the Lebanon Police Department. The search was called off after a couple of hours.

Chandler said police canvassed nearby homes for surveillance video, and did find at least one home with security cameras. Police used the footage to get two still photographs of a suspect vehicle.

Chandler said that anyone not contacted by police, but possibly with surveillance footage of the suspect, should contact the police department as soon as possible.

Police believe the suspects spotted the delivery driver traveling to make a delivery and took the opportunity to rob the victim. Chandler said police think the suspects may have been driving around and “looking for a crime of opportunity” when they saw the pizza delivery driver.

“Right now, detectives are trying to track the pizza delivery driver’s movements leading to the robbery,” Chandler said.

Detectives do not believe this incident is connected to an unknown homeless man living in nearby woods involved in incidents over the weekend, according to Chandler. However, detectives do believe it is connected to another robberies that have been committed by armed teenagers approaching individuals in public in and near Mt. Juliet.

On Sunday afternoon, Mt. Juliet police responded to an incident in which a teenager armed with a revolved rushed and robbed an adult woman of her purse in a grocery store parking lot, according to a report from the Mt. Juliet Police Department.

At about 2:05 p.m., officers were called to Publix, located at 665 S. Mt. Juliet Road, in reference to the robbery, which happened in the parking lot.

Further investigation revealed that a thin black male, believed to be a teenager, approximately 5-feet, 6-inches tall and wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, pointed a revolver and took a purse from an adult woman who had just gotten out of her vehicle.

After committing the robbery, the suspect got into the passenger side of a 2008-2016 year model maroon Chrysler Town & Country minivan.

Multiple officers responded to the area to search for the suspect and vehicle, but police believe they quickly left the area.

It is also believed that these suspects were involved in an armed robbery outside of the Mt. Juliet city limits in a neighborhood, in which the suspect was armed with a shotgun. The suspect in that incident was described as a black male, believed to be a teenager, with curly black hair and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.

Detectives believe there could be two or three teenagers or young adults involved in the area robberies. Detectives are working with other area departments to collaborate information.

Anyone with information regarding this crime should call Mt. Juliet police at 615-754-2550. A $1,000 reward was issued for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects.

By Jake Old


Mom, son charged in killing

Wilson County sheriff’s detectives charged a mother and son last week with their apparent involvement in a fatal shooting early Saturday morning near Old Hickory.

A Wilson County grand jury indicted both Kimberly Ann Scott, 50, and Lance Kelby Rippy, 25, on charges of premeditated first-degree murder.

Deputies arrived at 1173 Needmore Road off North Greenhill Road near Old Hickory on March 11 and found a man shot multiple times.

Vincent Edward Clemmons, 51, was pronounced dead shortly after paramedics took him to TriStar Summit Medical Center in Hermitage. Deputies attempted to resuscitate Clemmons on the scene before paramedics took him to the hospital.

“Our investigators worked tirelessly all weekend long interviewing individuals, as well as tracking down numerous leads, which we have received about this incident,” said Sheriff Robert Bryan. “These indictments are a direct result of all the hard work and time spent on this malicious crime by our investigators.”

Both suspects remain in Wilson County Jail without bond and will have court dates set in the near future. Bryan said further details about the case are not immediately available.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family,” Bryan said.

In April 2016, Wilson Emergency Management Agency firefighters were called to same address to battle a mobile home fire. At the time, the homeowner was asleep, and his sister next door noticed the fire and called him, which allowed him to escape without injury. Two pets, a dog and a cat, died in the fire.

On Tuesday, Bryan confirmed Clemmons was both the fire victim from a year ago, as well as Saturday’s shooting victim, though he said it doesn’t appear the two incidents were related. 

By Jake Old


Home catches fire in storm

By Jake Old


A lightning strike may have caused a Thursday night house fire just outside the city limits of Mt. Juliet, and severe weather conditions challenged firefighters in putting it out.

According to Wilson County Emergency Management Agency director Joey Cooper, a caller reported a fire at 808 Harrisburg Lane after lightning apparently struck the house. A follow-up call said everyone was out of the house, but one person had gone back in with a fire extinguisher.

WEMA firefighters responded shortly after 11 p.m., and when they arrived, everyone was safe and out of the home, along with their pets. No injuries were reported.

Flames extended through the roof as crews arrived to the large two-story brick house. It was about 75 percent involved in flames when firefighters started their attack. Firefighters started with a defensive effort to protect exposures next to the home.

Operations continued, although an ongoing severe storm with continuous wind gusts and lighting in the area, as well as unstable structural walls in the home, made conditions difficult for firefighters, Cooper said.

“It [took] longer than normal due to the circumstances of wind, unstable walls and roof contents falling in on top of the floor,” Cooper said. “Our personnel [used] caution during the overhaul phase while extinguishing any hot spots. Our No. 1 concern is safety of our personnel since all occupants made it out safely.”

Crews worked into Friday morning and had to dig through the rubble to find hot spots to extinguish. They were able to recover some items for the family.

Wilson County sheriff’s deputies also responded to help. The Fire Department of Mt. Juliet posted on its Facebook page it had received many calls about the fire, but because it was outside its jurisdiction, firefighters there only respond when WEMA officials request assistance, which did not happen during the incident.

“As far as Mt Juliet, their assistance was not needed,” Cooper said. “We had people, we had engines, we had water. We were fighting the elements more than anything. Naturally people would ask them about the fire since most people don’t know the difference between the departments.”