Roane County Property Assessor Teresa Kirkham is suspending her campaign for a week after a candidate running against her committed suicide at her home. She is calling on her fellow candidates to do the same.
Kirkham released a statement Sunday saying she was suspending all campaign-activities until June 10 out of respect for the family of J.T. Woods, who shot himself at her home on Thursday.
"This tragedy has affected our entire community, our county and our state," the statement reads. "Without a doubt, it is one of the saddest things that I have ever experienced."
Officials have not released any information to 10News about why Woods committed suicide.
Here is Kirkham's complete statement:
"In life there are things that we cannot erase from our mind and I will never forget that tragic day. But this is not a time to dwell on ourselves and the terrible hurt that I feel as the result of what happened on Thursday morning. This is a time that we must show our deepest respect to J.T.'s family.
This tragedy has affected our entire community, our county and our state. Without a doubt, it is one of the saddest things that I have ever experienced.
We all want what is best for our community. We share in love for our families, love for our friends and neighbors. There comes a time when we must focus on these things that we all share, have in common and hold dear.
During times of despair we feel so helpless. But there is something that each of us can do at this time. We can pray. I am asking everyone to join with me and pray for J.T's family. Pray that Gods comforting hand will comfort their heavy hearts at this sad time in their lives.
This is not the time to focus on our differences, it is a time to show our love and compassion for each other. I have decided to suspend any and all campaign related events and activities until June 10th in honor and respect for J.T. and his family. I hope everyone understands my actions and I ask that my fellow candidates do the same.
I would like to conclude by saying that although we had our differences, J.T. will be sadly missed by myself and my entire staff. I would like to send my deepest and heart felt condolences to the entire Woods family. My God be with you all."