Wilson County deputy shot during pursuit, suspect in custody
LEBANON, Tenn. (WSMV) - A Wilson County Sheriff’s deputy is recovering after being shot while running after a suspect at the end of a high-speed chase that went through multiple counties on Tuesday night.
The chase began when 22-year-old Billy Randel Bennett, of Gordonsville, Tennessee, was involved in a domestic dispute in Smith County, the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. Deputies in Smith County chased Bennett into Wilson County where the pursuit was turned over to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office and Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Deputies said they reached speeds over 100 mph until Bennett pulled down a side road and ditched his truck. Bennett fired a gun at a deputy as he was running away from the truck, hitting the deputy in the leg.
“My husband actually woke me up and told me to take cover,” Erin Gaskill said about the shooting that happened in her front yard. “It was very worrisome. I would have not expected it.”
One of the bullets hit the new gate Gaskill has just installed on her horse pasture, she said. Gaskill is thankful her three horses were inside the locked barn and were not hurt in the gunfire.
Bennett then ran into the woods behind Gaskill’s house and was found on the roof of a garage workshop that’s in the woods behind her neighbor’s house, deputies said. He began shooting aimlessly into the sky but did not hit anything else. It is not known if the deputies returned fire.
“I heard two police cars flying down the road and I thought maybe it was a wreck,” Angela Melton said. “Then I heard six gunshots.”
Melton said she barricaded herself in her bedroom with her own gun, looking out the window to see what was happening. She called her neighbors across the street to make sure they were awake and knew about the shots being fired from atop their garage.
“They had the SWAT team all geared up and ready to go. There was a helicopter out here,” Melton said. “They zoned in on her house, then the next thing they said was they got him.”
Deputies said they were able to talk Bennett into dropping his gun and climbing down from the roof.
“We live in a crazy world,” Wilson County Sheriff’s Captain Scott Moore said. “Our deputies are trained throughout the year on situations like this, so we responded quickly and efficiently. We want our citizens to know that whenever we have situations like this, we are going to continue to be quick and take the suspect into custody, such as this.”
In a news release, Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan said the injured deputy is expected to make a full recovery.
“While deputies continued to pursue the suspect on foot, we rendered aid to the injured deputy by applying a tourniquet above the wound to prevent further loss of blood,” Bryan said. “Thankfully, we were able to take Bennett into custody without further incident.”
Bennett is being held in the Wilson County Jail on a total bond of $205,000. He’s set to appear in court on Jan. 10, 2023.
Melton said nothing like this has happened in the 15 years she has lived in the rural part of Wilson County outside Lebanon. She is thankful no one else was hurt and neighbors looked out for each other during the late-night incident.
“I just think it’s important for people to lock their shops and their garages and their sheds and their horse trailers when they live in a rural area so if something like this does happen, it gives them less of a place to hide,” Melton said.
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