Police: Ball bearings shot from slingshot, two men in custody

Becky Campbell • Updated Jun 14, 2017 at 10:50 PM

Updated 8:30 p.m.

Police identified two men accused of striking vehicles, businesses and at least one person with ball bearings they launched from a sling Wednesday afternoon.

Police arrested 22-year-old Joseph Dechristina, 2517 Hammond Lane, Knoxville, and Dakotah Shell, 26, 385 Mount Zion Road, Afton, Wednesday on 11 counts of felony reckless endangerment, 15 counts of misdemeanor vandalism and one count of aggravated assault each.

According to a press release from the police department, calls became pouring just before 4 p.m. Wednesday about windows of vehicles and businesses being shot out throughout the city. Officers soon determined that metal ball bearings were shattering the windows, and one victim reported being struck in the side with a ball bearing while walking along State of Franklin Road near Gilbreath Drive, the release said.

The victim was able to give a description of the suspected vehicle to 911 dispatch, the release said, and a Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputy found and stopped the vehicle on Indian Ridge Road. According to the release, the deputy found a sling shot and several ball bearings inside the vehicle, and arrested the two occupants, Dechristina and Shell.

The release said that further charges are pending as more reports of the spree come in.

The two have been jailed at the Washington County Detention Center, and are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow afternoon in General Sessions Court.

Reported earlier:

Workers at Bear and Friends on North Roan Street said they heard a loud pop Wednesday afternoon, and then the store's window shattered.

That incident was one of a string of calls about what residents thought were shots being fired at vehicles, people, businesses and homes that drew city police and county sheriff’s deputies — and ended with two men in custody.

Police said at least one person was hit by a ball bearing.

The men were taken into custody after a search for a maroon Impala with several people inside ended with a stop on Indian Ridge Road shortly after 5 p.m.

Police said the men were shooting ball bearings from the vehicle with a slingshots they traveled around the city and into the county.

There were few solid details after the arrest, but Johnson City Police Capt. Gerald Harrell said city investigators were taking over the cases that occurred in the city, while the county would investigate incidents that occurred in its jurisdiction. He said there were multiple vandalism incidents. 

At Bear and Friends, police were unable to find the projectile that shattered the window, but authorities believe it was part of a string of similar shots from a vehicle.

Press staff writer Jessica Fuller contributed to this story.

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