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Rent dispute allegedly fuels Blountville shooting, gunman claims self-defense

Rain Smith • Dec 13, 2012 at 11:39 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Detectives are sorting through conflicting accounts from multiple witnesses in a Wednesday night shooting in Blountville, which left one man to undergo surgery and the alleged gunman claiming self-defense.

The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office reports the incident occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m. within a mobile home park at 1277 Shipley Ferry Road. SCSO Public Information Officer Leslie Earhart says the altercation apparently began with a dispute over rent between the landlord, Ronald Zimmerman, 56, and tenants of lot No. 8.

Police report Zimmerman shot Charles Gibson, 33, after a skirmish spilled over from the mobile home and into a neighboring trailer. Earhart says Zimmerman then ran into a nearby wooded area and dialed 911, complied with a dispatchers instructions to drop his gun and returned to the scene.

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