When deputies arrived, a bloody Ringgold, Ga., man stumbled out of his Nissan Altima and fell to the pavement.
Christopher Blake Bice, 28, of Ringgold, had called 911 shortly before 1 a.m. Monday. He said he had been shot in the right leg, just above the knee. But who did it?
Bice, who was parked at 7799 Georgia State Route 95, told Walker County deputies his friend had met him in a parking lot and dropped a gun, which went off.
Sheriff Steve Wilson said Bice wouldn't tell deputies who the friend was. Finally, Bice said he accidentally shot himself.
But Bice isn't allowed to shoot or carry a gun, Wilson said. Bice is on parole following an August 2010 arrest in Walker County for attempting to commit a felony, according to court records.
He refused to answer any questions at all without a lawyer. The deputies called an ambulance and paramedics drove Bice to Erlanger hospital. By the time officers got there to question him, Bice had gone.
"I think he's being evasive because he's a convicted felon," Wilson said. "He's probably afraid he'll go back to prison."
Now Bice is wanted on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The sheriff's office had not arrested him as of Tuesday evening.
Wilson said investigators still aren't sure exactly what happened, but they think Bice accidentally shot himself, called 911, then realized he was in trouble. Before riding away in an ambulance, Bice asked deputies if his friend Jason Thompson could drive his car from the scene instead of a tow truck driver taking it to a lot.
When Thompson arrived, Wilson said, he told deputies that he had given Bice a Jennings .22-caliber long rifle for protection from the snakes he encounters during his tree-cutting job. Deputies found a gun in the center console of Bice's Altima.
Wilson said Bice did not appear to suffer any life-threatening injuries when he shot himself.
Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at email@example.com or 423-757-6476.