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Deadly Unicoi County shooting investigation underway, could be self defense

Becky Campbell • Apr 24, 2019 at 10:58 PM

ERWIN — Unicoi County investigators and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are continuing to develop information in a deadly shooting Saturday, but one official said the preliminary indications are the shooting was self defense.

Larry Junior Morton, 48, 1124 Simerly Creek Road, died Saturday at a neighbor’s residence in the 6300 block of Simerly Creek Road in Unicoi County. He was pronounced dead at the scene, Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said.

The sheriff said deputies responded to the scene after the man who shot Morton called 911 around 7:51 p.m. and then began CPR on the man.

Hensley said investigators had detained and questioned the man who shot Morton, but he was not arrested or charged and his name was not being released at this time.The men were neighbors in the rural area, Hensley said, but their residences were not within sight of each other.

“(Morton) thought his neighbor was saying things about him. He drove to the man’s residence and pulled a gun,” Hensley said. Hensley confirmed there was a gun found near Morton that was loaded, cocked and ready to fire.

The sheriff said there were indications the shooting was self-defense, but stressed that was only a preliminary assessment.  He said there had been no documented history between the two men as far as 911 calls.

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