Four men were arrested this week and accused of involvement in the 2017 shooting death of a pregnant woman in the parking lot of the Johnson City Housing Authority’s Parkway Community. Police believe one of those men was the father of the unborn baby.
Isiaha Devon Milligan and Avios Griffin of Johnson City; Monte Brewer Jr. of Cleveland, Tennessee, and Eugene Glover of Chattanooga were all charged with first-degree murder and first-degree murder in commission of a felony, according to a Johnson City Police Department press release. Milligan, who has a long history of encounters with police, was also charged with two counts of solicitation of first-degree murder.
Rebekah Thompson was shot once at point-blank range around 9:30 p.m. on July 24 at 1008 John Exum Parkway as she sat in the driver’s seat of a white Honda while a friend visited someone in the Parkway Community. Thompson’s infant daughter was also sitting in the car, but she was not injured.
All four men were being held on $500,000 bond at the Washington County Detention Center.
The search for one of the men wanted on those murder charges led to a rude awakening for a Bradley County family when a SWAT team raided the wrong home.
DEA agents and Bradley County Sheriff’s Department officers knocked down Spencer Renck’s door just before 6 a.m. Tuesday and stormed his house with guns drawn and flash-bang grenades exploding, believing Monte Brewer Jr. was inside. Brewer is one of the four men accused of murder in Johnson City and is reportedly involved in an ongoing heroin investigation. He does not, however, live with the Renck family at their Lynncrest Drive address.
Renck said the officers detonated several stun grenades in his home, including outside his son’s open door, burning carpets and clothes. His door and frame were demolished, the ceiling was damaged, and the family was traumatized as officers pulled out of the house, cuffed Renck and held him to the ground while he protested. Renck’s wife, Alyssa, said their son required an emergency room visit after the grenades went off outside his room.
Once officers realized the case of mistaken identity, they left as suddenly as they entered, and proceeded to raid a neighbor’s house, where Brewer was taken into custody. DEA and TBI officials have released statements apologizing for the mix up, promising to investigate the matter to ensure such mistakes never happen again. A news release from the Bradley County Sheriff's Office did not mention the error.
After a long and tumultuous year at the helm of Washington County’s schools, Director Kimber Halliburton resigned this week to take on a similar job in Mississippi.
Halliburton, who has been ing her position for two years, has had to deal with a myriad of issues this year and has had several disagreements with a divided school board along the way. The problems with the new Boones Creek Elementary School, Jonesborough’s building issues, and the ongoing complications of Gerald Sensabaugh’s tenure are just a few highlights from her time in Washington County, and several on the board shared the sentiment that her departure may be “best for everybody involved.”
During Halliburton’s term as director, Washington County Schools received exemplary status from the Tennessee Department of Education, graduation rates increased by more than three percent and ACT scores rose at both county high schools. The Madison County Board of Education unanimously selected Halliburton for the job.
On a final note, I’d like to turn your attention to an article this week from Zach Vance.
After another deadly school shooting made headlines, Johnson City commissioners on Monday discussed the prospect of holding a referendum to give city voters the chance to raise their local sales tax by .25 percent to fund school security measures.
The details and particulars are listed in the article, and you can find it on our website -my question is simply this: would voters in Johnson City be willing to raise taxes in order to enact new safety measures at our schools? Let me know in the comments, or visit our website and join the discussion there.