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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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No charges placed yet against alleged shooter in Butler killing

July 18th, 2013 1:40 pm by John Thompson

No charges placed yet against alleged shooter in Butler killing

BUTLER — A man was killed Wednesday night in a shooting in the parking lot of Elk Mills General Store.

The victim was identified by the Carter County Sheriff's Department to be Kenneth Jeffery Dugger, 41, 798 Poga Road. R.L. Hartley, the victim's father-in-law, told investigators he shot Dugger one time in the chest with a .380 caliber pistol.

The investigation began when the sheriff's department was dispatched to the general store at 8:39 p.m. on a call about a man threatening to harm himself by running into the road in front of vehicles.

While responding to that call, deputies were informed by 911 that a man had been shot in the chest in the parking lot of the store.

Deputy Shane Watson was the first officer on the scene. He noticed a man lying in the bed of a truck. Watson approached the man and saw a gunshot wound to his  chest. He was identified as Dugger.

Watson then attempted to identify the shooter and find the gun. He was approached by Carolyn Hartley, who told him her husband was the shooter and pointed him out for Watson. The deputy then asked about the weapon and found it inside the store. He then notified all the responding deputies that the weapon was secure and the suspect was restrained.

Lt. Keith Range and Sgt. Michael Bean arrived a short time later. They said the Carter County Rescue Squad was just leaving the scene with Dugger.

Bean spoke with Mrs.  Hartley, She said she heard there was a car crash at the store and one of her relatives may have been involved. She went to the store and found there had not been an accident. She said she noticed her son-in-law, Dugger, in front of the store, standing in the road. She tried to get him to move out of the road and there was a brief struggle between the two. She said Dugger told her he wanted to die.

Another relative at the scene, Gregory Hartley, went to the residence of R.L. Hartley to tell him about the altercation between his wife and his son-in-law. 

Bean then spoke to R.L. Hartley, who told him he got dressed and went to the store, but not before grabbing his pistol. When he arrived at the store, he said he found his wife and his son-in-law standing in front of each other and arguing. Hartley pulled into the parking lot and was approached by Dugger.

Hartley said he did not have time to the open the door of his vehicle before Dugger reached in and began punching him in the face. Hartley said he noticed his wife behind Dugger, attempting to pull him away from the vehicle.

Hartley said he then reached for his pistol and shot Dugger one time i the chest. Bean noticed a single shell casing lying in the parking lot beside Hartley's vehicle.

Bean then transported Mr. and Mrs. Hartley to the sheriff's office for questioning. No charges had been placed.

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