East Tenn. man killed during fight over prized rooster

(Courtesy: WATE)

DECATUR, Tenn. (WATE) – A shootout in Meigs County over the alleged theft of a gamecock ended with the rooster’s owner killed and his nephew in the hospital.

District Attorney Russell Johnson’s office says officials were called to a home on Moore Cemetery Road in Decatur just after 2 a.m. Wednesday morning for a shooting call. Larry Eugene Johnson, Jr. was inside one of two mobile homes on the property with a gunshot wound to the chest. His uncle Timothy Dewayne Johnson was dead from apparent gunshot wounds in the driveway.

April Johnson, Larry’s wife, was inside the home when this happened.

“I heard yelling and then I heard gun shots. I heard one gun shot. I heard two gun shots and then I heard multiple gun shots and then I didn’t hear nothing else,” said Johnson.

Investigators say Timothy Johnson had come to the home and confronted Larry Johnson about the alleged theft of his prized fighting rooster. April says her husband had no part in that.

“My husband didn’t steal no chicken. We hadn’t seen him in forever,” said April Johnson.

Then things started to escalate. Apparently, Larry Johnson told someone with him that Timothy Johnson drew a gun. Larry Johnson tried to grab his uncle’s gun when he was shot in the chest.

That’s when Larry fired back several times with his own gun. His uncle ended up dying in the driveway while he scrambled to get inside the home.

“He yelled, ‘April, come here. He shot me. Call 911,’” said April Johnson.

Larry Johnson was flown to UT Medical Center and is still in the intensive care unit, according to family members. His wife said he has two broken ribs along with a punctured lung and a bullet still inside him.

Timothy Johnson’s family is convinced the rooster was taken by Larry Johnson. While that’s debatable, both sides do agree this shouldn’t have happened.

“Regardless of grudges or whatever the case may be, this ain’t the way to solve anything because nobody wins in the end,” said April Johnson.

April Johnson says her husband shot his uncle out of self defense. Both families say the two men had a good relationship and they didn’t expect this to happen.

Timothy Johnson’s body has been taken for autopsy. The district attorney’s office says once all autopsy and toxicology tests are in, as well as a complete investigative file, the case will be presented to the next Meigs County Grand Jury, which meets in late November.


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