published Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Cousins fall out, one fatally shot

William L. Clarke waited an hour and 45 minutes to call 911.

When police arrived at 7648 Mallette Road on Wednesday, they found Clarke’s cousin, Jason Hood, 37, lying face down in the kitchen with a gunshot wound to his torso, according to a Chattanooga police report.

Clarke, 59, told police he shot and killed Hood after Hood attacked him while he was sleeping, the sixth homicide in Chattanooga this year.

That’s not the story he told emergency dispatchers. When he called 911, Clarke said he shot Hood after his cousin attacked him while he was walking toward the kitchen.

Clarke said that, at some point during the reported attack, he was able to make it back to his bedroom to retrieve a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun.

Clarke was charged with criminal homicide. He posted a $35,500 bond and was released from the Hamilton County Jail pending a court appearance on April 12. He also was picked up on a warrant for worthless checks, police said.

No one answered the door at Clarke’s house off Bonny Oaks Drive on Wednesday afternoon and a phone message was not returned.

Crime scene tape still hung from the front-door handle. The lights were turned on and open boxes with items scattered about were visible through windows in the door.

Family members were still in shock Wednesday.

A teary-eyed woman sitting behind the wheel of Hood’s Nissan pickup outside his apartment, about a block from Clarke’s home, declined to comment.

A family friend said family members were still trying to piece together what happened.

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