A son of a North Georgia sheriff told police he was "playing a prank" when he called 911 and said a gunman was on the loose in downtown Chattanooga on Halloween night.
Officers from all over Hamilton County responded to the call, several with rifles drawn, but police found 28-year-old Jeremy Summers, the son of Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers, and two friends in front of Panera Bread, said Chattanooga police Officer Mike Taylor.
Summers initially denied having made the call from a pay phone outside Buehler's Food Market, Taylor said. But after police told him that a witness had overheard the call, Summers admitted making the call and was arrested -- for the fifth time in the last six years, records show.
"He claimed it was a prank. I don't know what his intentions were," Taylor said. "[But] a situation like that we have to take very seriously."
Summers was charged with commission of acts of terrorism, criminal impersonation, abuse of the 911 system, false reports and public intoxication and booked into Hamilton County Jail about 6:45 p.m. Sunday, police reports show.
"The public was unnecessarily put at risk of injury and intimidation," the arrest report read.
After 7 p.m. Sunday, Hamilton County Magistrate Yolanda Mitchell set Summers' bond for $7,500. But as of press time Monday, Summers was still in jail.
Phil Summers' secretary said the sheriff was out of the office this week following the death of his mother on Saturday and that he didn't want to comment on his son's charges.
When Jeremy Summers was arrested, he admitted "it was going to be really hard on his family," Taylor said.
Jeremy Summers has been in and out of jail since 2004. He pleaded guilty to drunken driving in 2004 following an automobile accident, records show. He served probation in Georgia, following a June 2004 arrest in Fort Oglethorpe.
Evidence in an alleged third drunken-driving incident from February 2005 was dismissed by Hamilton County Court Judge Rebecca Stern, records show.
"The seizing officer did not have reason to suspect the defendant of criminal activity," Stern said in the 2006 evidence ruling.
After she dismissed his case, Stern lowered charges pending from an arrest later in 2005 when police said they caught Summers stealing CDs and pizza from a car when he was intoxicated, reports show.
The burglary charge was reduced to malicious vandalism and he was sentenced to 11 months in the county workhouse, reports show.
His attorney, Jerry Summers, who is no relation, did not return calls Monday seeking comment.
Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6659.
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