Lewis County TN Oct 16 2016 Friday morning at approximately 9 a.m. a man with a gun entered the Lewis County Court House via the elevator to confront his wife who was an employee of one of the offices.
An official in the circuit court clerk’s office heard loud voices. The Circuit Court Clerk alerted security when she found Johnny Owen and his wife struggling over a gun in a room at the back of the courtroom.
Security officers arrived within seconds and a shot was fired by the gun in Owen’s possession, striking the wall only feet away from General Sessions Court which was in progress. The courtroom and the court house were evacuated immediately.
Sheriff Dwayne Kilpatrick and Chief Livingston arrived within minutes and reported the man told his wife to “let them shoot me” during the incident. The wife was able to get the weapon from Owen who was then taken into custody. The bullet did not penetrate the wall, City of Hohenwald Chief of Police Sam Livingston said. No injuries were reported.
Johnny Owen reportedly suffers from a terminal illness.
Sheriff Kilpatrick reported the incident as workplace domestic violence as the man made no threats to any member of the court or to law enforcement.
Owen was able to enter the court house through an elevator on the north side of the courthouse from the street. While there were security guards in place at the doors to the court room, no one was monitoring that entrance. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Department stepped up security at the court house with all traffic being directed into one door as security measures are being re-evaluated.
Charges are pending.
Lewis County Herald