published Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Fathers defended families in Whitfield shooting


by Adam Crisp
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    Staff Photo by Allison Kwesell Chattanooga Times Free Press - Deputies say three people were killed late Thursday during a domestic shootout at this home near Dawnville in southern Whitfield County.

Kenny Simonson and Edward Manz were two fathers determined to protect their children and grandchildren from a hail of gunfire Thursday night.

Both men died at the hands of David Hartline, who sheriff’s deputies theorize was bent on harming his estranged girlfriend Mindy Bullard, 35.

But Kenny Simonson, 41, and Manz, 61, stood between Hartline’s gun, Bullard and her children, and in the process they were fatally wounded, Simonson’s brother Brian said.

“I’m proud that [Kenny] was able to save the kids, and even Mindy benefited in that her life was saved, but I’m also hurt and in shock that this crime happened,” he said.

After the shooting, the families met with Whitfield County deputies and the coroner to run over their theories of how the crime played out, Simonson said. They also have talked to child witnesses who recall some details and saw some of the shooting, he said.

From the start, deputies said, there was an exchange of gunfire, but Simonson says deputies now believe that after Bullard saw Hartline reach for a gun from his truck toolbox, Manz met him with his own gun.

Manz was shot, and then inside the home Simonson was shot. Both men survived those initial wounds as Hartline’s attention turned to Bullard, Simonson says.

On 911 tapes, Bullard is on the phone with dispatchers as Hartline comes into the room. She pleads, “Please don’t hurt me, David.” Hartline replies with accusations that Bullard has been having sex with another man. Then there is a scuffle.

“That’s my brother [coming in the room],” Brian Simonson said. “[Hartline] had to turn his attention to Kenny, and he shot him three more times.”

That gave Bullard enough time to get out a second-story window and onto the roof, Simonson says. She was shot in the legs and then fell to the ground below, breaking bones. Deputies found her crawling toward a neighbor’s yard, according to police reports.

Hartline wasn’t done with Bullard, Brian Simonson said. He was going to chase her to the yard and finish the job, Simonson believes, but when he reached the bottom of the home’s staircase Manz, who was on the floor suffering from his own gunshot wounds, managed to fire two bullets into Hartline, finally stopping him.

Simonson said everyone in the family is reeling from the crime. The children — seven ranging in age from 4 to 16 — are staying with him and his wife in Cleveland, Tenn.

“We are just showering them in love and attention,” he said. Bullard has been released from the hospital, Simonson said.

A funeral for Manz is planned for today, and Simonson’s burial will be Wednesday.

Continue reading by following these links to related stories:

Article: Neighbors shocked at triple shooting

Article: Shootout kills three

Article:911 call misplaced

about Adam Crisp...

Adam Crisp covers education issues for the Times Free Press. He joined the paper's staff in 2007 and initially covered crime, public safety, courts and general assignment topics. Prior to Chattanooga, Crisp was a crime reporter at the Savannah Morning News and has been a reporter and editor at community newspapers in southeast Georgia. In college, he led his student paper to a first-place general excellence award from the Georgia College Press Association. He earned ...

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Soos54 said...

These two men are heros - What a terrible tragedy.

August 31, 2010 at 11:06 a.m.
alohaboy said...

Kenny was a frequently in the Cleveland library with his two boys. The staff had a nickname they used when they spoke about him. They were correct, it was "Superdad" RIP Kenny

August 31, 2010 at 3:34 p.m.
orabrown said...

Yes, they will die in honor! However, it's a SAD that FOUR calls to 911 finally gets help after 3 shot!! Two of her asking for help, he's there, unwanting, drunk, and raving. She gives his tags, etc. BUT says she didn't want him there! Then another with him firing shots, then another from a neighbor saying people are dead. SOMEONE FROM 911's original CALL DID NOT go SEE and check up on the CALL! Dispatcher was RUDE. Did she even send someone out the first time? This should be checked up on! Also, her saying, "I can not help you without getting more info...." HELLO! YOU AREN'T on the other end of the phone... who's to see someone didn't have their hand over her mouth or even she was too hurt to talk.... Saying you won't help someone without them telling you even MORE DETAILS is not trying your best to get them help. THERE COULD OF BEEN 3 people ALIVE possibly if 911 would of showed up on the first call and sent the guy home or to jail. PERIOD!!! SAD, and personally, she deserved to be treated WAY better! I even noticed the dispatcher questioning how many children she had, and then acted like that was alot in her attitude... what did that even matter??? If you have alot of children you don't get a chance with protection??? I can't believe it!! I don't even want to live in a town where I call 911 and they treat me that way! Especially the end results!!!

September 1, 2010 at 12:02 a.m.
m193 said...

This story support 2 maxims.

Gun laws are worthless.

Armed, law-abiding citizens are are better protection than law enforcement.

God rest the souls of the two who saved the children.

September 1, 2010 at 9:33 a.m.
susieq261950 said...

what do we have to do to get the 911 operator relieved of her post??? She was very rude and uncaring. She did sound disgusted when she was told how many children the lady had/ What difference did that make to her, it should have put even more urgency in getting officer's dispatched. And why did Murray County 911 fail to call Whitfield County after the first 911 call was intercepted by their call center? Surely that should have been a top priority to get that information relayed to the correct department for follow up. It seems this situation was mishandled from the very beginning,and the 911 operator was just adding insult to injury ! And did I read that the Dalton chief detective said that they did not get any information from Murray county 911; and then in the same interview say that they (whitfield county deputies)were on the look out for the shooter's vehicle? How would they know to be on the look out for anything?? It is an outrage and needs to be investigated by someone outside of these two counties, and definately the 911 operators from both counties need to be removed from their positions immediately. Thank goodness those two men had the courage to handle the situation but it is sad knowing they died wondering where the police were.

September 6, 2010 at 11:28 p.m.
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