Deer Lodge, Tenn. — A fatal shooting in Morgan County happened because a 12-year-old boy was defending his mother, according to District Attorney General Russell Johnson. The boy shot and killed his father, according to the Morgan County Sheriff.
AG Johnson said the boy was not charged.
"We met with the mother and son last Thursday with a service provider to try and get services to the family and juvenile. This is a truly, heart-wrenching and sad set of circumstances. It had my staff members who met with them in tears," Johnson said. "The mother is as good a woman as she can possibly be raising six children in that environment. It makes me angry that MCSO was called to the home five times previously and never charged the father or tried to get them help! We need more juvenile services in rural areas!"
The shooting happened Saturday, September 15, on Twin Bridge Rd. in Deer Lodge, according to the DA's office. The Morgan County Sheriff's Office and TBI responded to the scene.
Officers found Kevron Thomas ‘Tommy’ Durham, 56, dead of a gunshot wound. From evidence and interviews, investigators determined that there was an ongoing domestic situation between Durham and his wife. It appears the boy intervened and shot at his father twice with a rifle, hitting him once in the chest. Another family member who wasn't at the home called 911.
Johnson said in a press release that there have been at least five difference incidents of domestic violence at the residence in the past, most recently in August.
“We’re emphasizing training and getting out in the public and into that community. One of the things we need to do is catch these sort of things before they happen," Morgan County Sheriff's Office Captain Mike Wren said.
"We haven't really had a chance to look into the details of any of the previous calls, we're just aware that they were there, and they're obviously a factor," Wren said.
“It appears that this is going to be a situation of the juvenile coming to the defense of his mother who was a victim in this and the other incidents of domestic violence.” General Johnson emphasized that, “We are still looking at what we can do through juvenile court with the suspect. Our greatest concern at this point is that child’s well being going forward in dealing with what has transpired, so we are leaving all of our options open in that respect," said Johnson.
“A lot of times in a domestic violence situation, the children grow up in that environment, and they get to a point where they just can’t take it anymore," Wren said.
Sheriff Wayne Potter, who took office in September, said, “I’m pleased with the way that my investigators and officers were able to work this tragic situation with TBI. My concerns also are with this family, their loss and the child suspect going forward.”