McMinn County teen turns herself in; two men on the run in attempted motel robbery, shooting of clerk

McMinn County teen turns herself in; two men on the run in attempted motel robbery, shooting of clerk

April 3rd, 2018 by Ben Benton in Breaking News

This story was updated April 3, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. with more information.

A 17-year-old Athens, Tenn., teen has turned herself in after an attempted robbery and shooting at a motel on Sunday that left the motel clerk with a bullet wound.

Devin Skylar Hester was first named the subject of a TBI "endangered child" alert, then she became a suspect in the attempted armed robbery and shooting along with two adult men whom police believe are armed and dangerous and still on the run.

The Athens Lodge motel clerk the trio allegedly tried to rob is recovering from a wound to his leg, Athens Police Department detective Sgt. Fred Schultz said Tuesday.

"The girl turned herself in [Monday] and we're still looking for the two guys," Schultz said.

Initially, the teen was described as being "in the company of multiple suspects that were allegedly involved in an attempted robbery" at the motel, TBI officials said Sunday in a statement.

Schultz said the teen became a suspect in the robbery attempt as authorities reviewed surveillance video and conducted witness interviews.

The case began early Easter Sunday, when the motel desk clerk locked the lobby's two sets of doors and started to make his rounds and have a cigarette. The trio approached him outside and started talking to him, Schultz said. Surveillance video from the motel showed much of the encounter.

"When [the clerk] unlocks the door, one male subject approached him and tells him to 'give it up,'" the detective said.

"He gets the first set of doors open and when he starts to unlock the second set of doors and starts going in, that's when the guy pulls him back and puts the gun on him," Schultz said.

The clerk struggled with the first assailant, a shot was fired that hit the clerk in the leg, but the clerk "still manages to get the door and hold it shut until he can get a key in the door and lock it," he said. "They couldn't get in there to him then."

Schultz said the teen fled first and then the men followed a few moments later.

Authorities have dealt with the teen recently in a separate incident, the detective said.

Her parents, Brian and Nikki Hester, told WRCB on Monday the incident involving their daughter happened because of a fight Thursday night when they learned she failed a drug test.

"She was in her room, keeping to herself. She ended up leaving overnight that night. I knew that was coming," Nikki Hester told WRCB. The teen's mother said the last time her daughter ran away they found her two days later with a grown man and drugs.

"He went to jail and she got probation out of it. So she is on probation. They couldn't do much because she is a minor," she said.

When Nikki and Brian Hester learned there was an attempted armed robbery at the local motel where a clerk was shot, they had a feeling their daughter was involved.

"Almost numb, but at the same time very sporadic overwhelming feelings of everything. Anger, hurt," the mother told WRCB.

Schultz said Tuesday that nothing was taken in the robbery and that the unnamed clerk was released from the hospital Monday after being treated for the gunshot wound.

"It was a through-and-through wound," he said.

Meanwhile, anyone with any information on the case is asked to call the Athens Police Department at 423-744-2730.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.


Loading...