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UPDATE: Man arrested after Unicoi County search to be held without bond

March 27th, 2014 7:41 am by Brad Hicks

UPDATE: Man arrested after Unicoi County search to be held without bond

ERWIN - The Bristol man arrested Wednesday afternoon after allegedly pointing a gun in a woman's face and attempting to steal cars in a Unicoi County community is being held without bond until his next court appearance.

Keenan Akil Shepherd, 22, 321 Lynwood St., Bristol, appeared in Unicoi County General Sessions Court on Thursday. Shepherd was arrested by Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley on Wednesday and charged with felony vandalism, possession of a schedule VI drug for resale, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during a felony act, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and attempted car theft.

Shepherd waived the reading of his warrant and told Sessions Court Judge David Shults he intended to hire an attorney.

Assistant District Attorney General Ryan Curtis asked that, based on the facts of the case and the seriousness of Shepherd's alleged offenses, he be held without bond until his preliminary hearing.

Shults agreed, ordering Shepherd to be held without bond at least until the next hearing when the issue may be addressed again.

The judge set that next hearing for April 3 and advised Shepherd that the matter could be reset if he has not hired an attorney by that time.

Shepherd is accused of showing up at a residence on Sugar Hollow Road on Wednesday afternoon and asking the woman inside for a ride in an apparent attempt to steal her vehicle.

When the woman refused the request, Hensley said Shepherd "pulled a handgun and stuck it between her eyes." The woman reportedly slammed the door and called 911.

Shepherd ran down the street to another nearby home, where he attempted to steal a truck, Hensley said. Shepherd had already ditched another vehicle registered to a Carter County resident, he said.

After Shepherd unsuccessfully attempted to take the truck, he apparently took off running through the neighborhood. Hensley said he then received a call from someone living on Unicoi Drive who reported Shepherd was on the back deck of her home. Hensley went to the residence where he spotted Shepherd sitting in the driver's seat of one of the vehicles parked behind the home, he said.

Shepherd was apprehended and found to be in possession of a loaded handgun and several pounds of marijuana.

Sheriff's department officials notified the Carter County Sheriff's Office of Shepherd's arrest, and also notified Johnson City police and East Tennessee State University authorities. He said Thursday afternoon that officials have not yet determined if Shepherd was involved in an armed robbery that took place on the ETSU campus Wednesday morning.

"We're still working on it," Hensley said. "There's nothing concrete yet linking him to it."

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Earlier report:

ERWIN — A Bristol man was taken into police custody Wednesday and now faces several felony charges after police said he pointed a gun at a woman and attempted to steal cars in a Unicoi County community.

Keenan Akil Shepherd, 22, 321 Lynwood St., Bristol, was arrested Wednesday and charged with felony vandalism, possession of a schedule VI drug for resale, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during a commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and attempted car theft.

Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said the events leading up to Shepherd’s arrest began at around 1 p.m. when a woman living on Sugar Hollow Road made a call to Unicoi County 911. Hensley said the woman reported a man, later identified as Shepherd, showed up at her home requesting a ride in an alleged attempt to steal her car. Hensley said the situation escalated when the woman refused Shepherd’s request.

“At that point in time, he pulled a handgun and stuck it between her eyes,” Hensley said. “She slammed the door and called 911.”

Hensley said Shepherd then ran down the street to another nearby home, where he got into a pickup truck and attempted to steal it. Just below this residence, Shepherd had ditched another vehicle registered to a Carter County resident, Hensley said.

After Shepherd’s attempt to steal the truck proved unsuccessful, he took off running through the neighborhood, Hensley said. Shortly thereafter, Hensley said he received a call from a resident along Unicoi Drive who reported Shepherd was on the back deck of her home.

“When that call came in, I was approximately 100 yards away from the residence,” Hensley said. “I went to that residence, I went around the house, I looked on the deck, and he was not on the deck. There was two or three vehicles parked behind the house, and I spotted him sitting in the driver’s seat of one of those vehicles. It was a car that had tinted windows.

“I immediately drawed down on him with my weapon and then asked for backup. Other officers came to me and we apprehended him there in the vehicle.”

Hensley said Shepherd was found to be in possession of a loaded handgun, the shirt the initial caller had described Shepherd as wearing and a plastic bag containing several packages of marijuana. Hensley said officials have estimated that the bag contained a total of three to five pounds of marijuana with a street value of “several thousand dollars.”

Shepherd is set to appear in Unicoi County Sessions Court this morning.

Hensley said his immediate concern after receiving the initial report was to get officers into the community. He said officials also contacted WEMB radio station to have them broadcast a be-on-the-lookout alert for Shepherd and warn against opening the door to him.

“I want to commend my officers,” Hensley said. “They did an excellent job. I apprehended him, but they done an excellent job. They were scouring the area for him. There were officers on foot, going door-to-door, making sure that the residents in that area were safe and he hadn’t entered a house or something.”

Hensley said sheriff’s department officials had not yet determined if the incidents were related to an armed robbery that occurred on the East Tennessee State University campus Wednesday morning. Hensley said he had notified Johnson City police, ETSU and the Carter County Sheriff’s Office.

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