An obsession about a 40-year-old business deal led a 78-year-old man to seriously injure one Englewood, Tenn., business owner and fatally shoot another before turning himself in to the McMinn County Sheriff’s Office Sunday.
A scroll through McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy's Facebook profile shows the usual pictures of friends and family, reminders to go vote — after all, it was an election year for Guy — and alerts like "SCAM," "PRESS RELEASE: URGENT" and "CRIME ALERT."
On Saturday evening, a crime alert warned residents of a shooting and possible stabbing in the Englewood area.
"Residents are advised to lock doors and not to answer," Guy posted. "We are looking for elderly white male, Bob Russell. 6'1" driving a white SUV. If anyone matching this description comes to your door, please call 911 immediately."
Yesterday morning, he posted that Russell had been taken into custody "for the shooting of Bill Haney and the murder of Bill Culberson."
Russell confessed to shooting and injuring Haney, who owns Englewood Package Store, Guy said.
"I guess he didn't have anywhere else to go," said Guy. "He came to the justice center and turned himself in."
Russell told Guy he shot Haney several times with a small-caliber handgun just after 9 p.m. Saturday at the store on Highway 411 just north of town. Haney stated that Russell walked into the store, shot him and left.
Haney was treated for his injuries and flown to a Chattanooga hospital, where he remained at press time, said Guy.
While trying to locate Russell Saturday evening -- as the Facebook post was circulating, gaining 330 shares, 80 likes and 96 comments -- another call came in around 10:45 p.m. When responders arrived at County Road 478 just east of Englewood, they found 80-year-old Culberson dead in his driveway.
Law enforcement quickly made a connection between the two incidents, said Guy -- all three men had been affiliated with Englewood Package Store. Russell later confessed to fatally shooting Culberson.
Russell was an original owner of the package store and seemed to have an obsession with the fact that he had once owned it, said Guy.
Russell's mental state is unclear, Guy said Sunday evening, and a court order may be issued to evaluate Russell's state of mind.
Chances are, you can check Facebook for updates. Communicating with the public through Facebook shows residents that you are working to catch bad guys and prevent crime, said Guy, who's been using the social media platform professionally for the four years he's been in office.
"If we perceive that there may be a threat to public, we're going to do whatever we need to do to get the information out," said Guy.
Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at 423-757-0672.
Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...