published Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Franklin County teen shot while rolling principal's yard with toilet paper

An Estill Springs, Tenn., man is free on a $125,000 bond after firing a shotgun at teens who were rolling their principal's yard with toilet paper.

One of the teens, a 15-year-old boy, was hit by shotgun pellets.

Franklin County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Chris Guess said suspect Dale Bryant Farris, 65, fired at least two shots, with pellets striking the teenager in the right foot, inner left knee, right palm, right thigh and right side of his torso above the waistline.

"He got peppered pretty good," Guess said of the teen's injuries. "The problem is they were not on his [Farris'] property and they were not doing anything to his property."

Guess said the charges and injuries should offer a lesson on both ends of the roll.

"Some kids got out at a residence over there to roll it with toilet paper and this gentleman came out of his residence a couple of houses over and shot one of the teenagers who was rolling this other guy's yard," Guess said.

The "other guy" was Huntland School Principal Ken Bishop, who didn't seek to file charges against any of the teens, at least some of whom attend his school, according to the sergeant.

In the wake of the incident that happened around midnight Oct. 20, the teenager is recovering from his wounds, and Farris, of 125 Deer Circle in Estill Springs, faces a charge of aggravated assault and another of reckless endangerment, Guess said.

Farris did not answer calls to the phone number listed on the report. He was released on bond two days after his arrest and faces a Dec. 5 hearing date in Franklin County General Sessions Court.

Franklin County criminal records show no prior violent incidents involving Farris and no previous encounters between him and any of the teens.

"It was just a random thing," Guess said.

But the incident is chilling in the face of the upcoming Halloween holiday Thursday and the high likelihood of pranking.

"We want everybody to have a good time, but we want everybody to be safe," Guess said. If residents believe property is being vandalized "they need to get on the phone and call law enforcement."

For teenage trick-or-treaters out for the evening on their own, Guess advises, "don't do anything that would cause anybody distress or make them think you might do them harm."

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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