RINGGOLD, Ga. - Two teens are in custody and another is dead after police say their attempted burglary went wrong in Ringgold.
Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk said the three teens were looking for scrap metal at a home on Post Oak Road. They thought the deteriorated home was abandoned, but 69-year-old Fred Steven Youngblood was home. After hearing the teens outside, Sisk said the man grabbed his pistol and confronted two boys, age 16 and 17, while 18-year-old Ansley Chrnalogar waited in a pickup truck.
Youngblood was standing outside the home and yelled at the boys to get out, the sheriff said. One poked his head out of the house and then both ran toward the 69-year-old, who said he feared for his life. The man shot 17-year-old Dalton Mcconathy in the side of the neck, Sisk said. After they fled, Mcconathy collapsed into the bed of the truck. He later died at a hospital.
Chrnalogar drove off, but police met the truck when responding to a 911 call. She faces burglary charges along with the 16-year-old, who police are not identifying because he is a juvenile. The homeowner has not been charged, but Sisk said the district attorney will continue to review the case.
The sheriff says the man felt threatened and he was shaken up after hearing the 17-year-old had died.
"He was definitely physically upset when we told him that that's what happened," Sisk said.
But that doesn't mean he won't necessarily face charges -- Sisk said it's too early to tell if the man acted in self-defense.
"We're only second day into the investigation. I really don't want to make any speculations. Of course we haven't charged the homeowner right now. I don't feel that his actions were in malice or that he even possibly intended to kill him. He felt that he was protecting himself. But to just flat-out say that he was in the right or wrong -- I'd like to wait until the investigation is closed."
In such a complex case, the sheriff said, all parties are victimized.
"You know it's a very complicated situation, because we do have a 17-year-old that has lost their life," he said. "This is a sad day for all.
"I wish I had some words of wisdom to give."
Contact staff writer Kevin Hardy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6249.