Estranged wife had fired shots before Manchester, Tenn., shooting

Estranged wife had fired shots before Manchester, Tenn., shooting

December 7th, 2013 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

Brenda Bartee is charged with criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder in the Manchester Square shooting of Dr. Harry Bartee on Dec. 4.

While Tullahoma, Tenn., physician Harry Bartee continues to recover from his wounds after being shot at least four times Wednesday on the town square in Manchester, Tenn., his estranged wife's bond was dramatically reduced Thursday.

Brenda Bartee, 47, of Tullahoma, is charged with criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder, and her bond, set the day of the shooting at $1 million, was reduced at a hearing Thursday to $250,000, according to Coffee County Sheriff's Office Capt. Frank Watkins.

Manchester Police Department investigator Butch Stewart said Wednesday's shooting was not the first time Brenda Bartee pulled the trigger on Harry Bartee.

The last time was Sept. 30, 2012, in Boliver County, Miss., when Brenda Bartee "shot twice at him inside a car. They were both sitting in a car, and she opened fire on him inside the car," Stewart said Friday. The shots shattered a window in Harry Bartee's 2005 Lincoln SUV.

He said Boliver County Sheriff's Office reports state that Brenda Bartee had accused Harry Bartee of "cheating with a woman on Lamar Street in Cleveland, Miss."

She was charged with aggravated domestic violence, and the disposition of the Mississippi case is pending, he said.

On Wednesday, authorities say, Brenda Bartee shot Harry Bartee, 47, multiple times on the sidewalk in front of the Rogers, Duncan and North law offices on North Spring Street.

The two were at the lawyer's office for mediation about 12:50 p.m. CST, Stewart said, but "the mediation apparently didn't go well."

They left, and as they were leaving, Brenda Bartee pulled a .45-caliber Ruger out of her coat pocket and "cut loose with seven or eight rounds and hit the victim at least four times," he said.

Harry Bartee last was listed in critical but stable condition at Erlanger hospital in Chattanooga. The wounds were all "below the chest plate," he said.

Brenda Bartee gave police a statement admitting to the shooting, and she told authorities Harry Bartee had been "picking on her," he said. Harry Bartee's girlfriend was sitting in a car near the lawyers' office during the mediation but fled when shots were fired, Stewart said.

Stewart said there were still interviews to conduct and that investigators had secured video of the shooting.

One of the first people on the scene Wednesday was 28-year-old Chris Fox, who was doing inventory at nearby Toliver's Pawn, Gun and Jewelry Shop when the shots rang out.

Fox said the store's security camera caught the shooting.

"She was about two steps behind him and she shot him right in the back," Fox said Wednesday afternoon. "He hits the ground, and she just keeps shooting."

Stewart said Brenda Bartee will appear in court Tuesday to set a date for a preliminary hearing.

He said the attorney who represented her at the bond hearing Thursday will have to be replaced because he was representing her at the mediation and is a witness to the shooting.

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