Update: TBI investigating death of Washington County inmate

Becky Campbell • May 3, 2013 at 9:19 AM

A Johnson City man arrested last week after pulling a gun on a woman died in the Washington County Detention Center Monday afternoon, and a state agency is investigating, a sheriff’s office official confirmed.

According to a spokesman for the jail, Stewart W. Peppers, 22, 606 Swadley Road, No. 46, was unconscious around 5:30 or 6 p.m. Monday. He later died while being transported to Johnson City Medical Center by ambulance.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was called in to investigate, but no foul play was suspected. Having TBI investigate a jailhouse death is standard operating procedure, officials said.

Peppers’ body has been sent for autopsy.

He was charged Thursday with aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon, felony vandalism, simple possession of a schedule VI drug for resale and simple possession of a schedule III drug.

The charges stemmed from an incident near the Milligan Highway and Cedar Grove Road.

A resident had reported seeing a man break out his neighbor’s vehicle window and run away. Police found Peppers in the area, but as he spoke with officers, he dropped a book bag and a gym bag and ran again. Johnson City police caught him a few blocks away.

Inside the bags, police found a loaded handgun, a vial containing an anabolic steroid and about 45 grams of marijuana, police said.

As Officer Jeffrey Hammonds was arresting Peppers, there was another report about a woman who had a gun pointed at her several hours before.

The woman, April Terry, told officers she was driving on Milligan Highway and turned left onto Swadley Road when she saw a man pushing a bicycle. Terry told police she slowed down and made eye contact with the man.

This man pointed a gun at her and demanded her car, but she sped away from him.

Sheriff’s officials said they could not comment on the death because it is being investigated by another agency.


Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Cedar Grove Road as Cedar Point Road.

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