Cleveland, Tenn., judge killed by gunshot wound

Cleveland, Tenn., judge killed by gunshot wound

July 15th, 2014 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

Judge Bill Moss

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Site of fatal Cleveland, Tenn., shooting.

Illustration by Laura McNutt/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Cleveland City Judge Bill B. Moss was found dead late Monday morning in a downtown parking lot on Fourth Street, between Worth and Broad streets, according to the Cleveland Police Department.

"Judge Moss suffered from a gunshot wound, which was possibly self­-inflicted," said Evie West, public information officer for the department, in a news release.

The medical examiner has taken the body to Knoxville for an autopsy and no further information will be released in what police are calling "an ongoing death investigation."

Records from 911 calls were not initially released Monday afternoon in accordance with a request from the 10th Judicial District Attorney's Office, said Joe Wilson, director of Bradley County 911.

That request was made out of consideration of notification of Moss' family, said District Attorney Steve Crump.

"Our entire office expresses condolences for the loss of Judge Moss," said Crump. "He was one of the really good guys of the law profession."

Cleveland officials have also expressed dismay at Moss' death and extended sympathy towards his family.

"The death of judge Moss was a shock to his city family," said Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland in an email. "This is a personal loss to me, not only as our judge, but as a longtime friend."

City building flags will fly at half­ staff in memory of Moss until his memorial, Rowland said.

"Bill was a real people person who gained the respect of everyone who came from his court," he said. "I have never known a more dedicated public servant."

Moss had served as a municipal judge since 1975, Rowland said.

Cleveland has announced that City Court will be suspended for two weeks because of Moss' death.

Anyone with cases before the Cleveland Municipal Court Thursday or next week can call the city's main telephone number, 423-­472­4551, for rescheduling.

A city representative will be at City Court on Thursday to assist anyone who appears and has not called to reschedule their case, according to the announcement.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.