MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – A La Vergne man was treated and released from the hospital after being shot at close range following an alleged road rage incident in Murfreesboro Wednesday.
James Ross, 57, said he was traveling down Southeast Broad Street when he got behind a vehicle that was driving too slowly, so he decided to pass.
“I looked up ahead and saw there were no vehicles up in front of him, and I proceeded to go around him,” Ross told News 2 by phone.
He said he passed the car and the driver, 22-year-old Isaac Garner, gave him the finger, but that’s not all.
“As soon as I went around the vehicle, it swerved over at me, and I see an arm come out,” Ross said.
Ross said Garner sped up behind him. Ross said he then pulled over.
“I pulled my vehicle over and I held my hands up like, ‘What’s wrong?’ and they pulled over behind me,” he said.
Ross then approached Garner’s driver side window.
“I was asking questions, and he was yelling questions back at me saying, ‘Why are you messing with me?’” Ross said.
He continued, “He started opening the door, and I push the door to. I never reached into the vehicle. Once I pushed the door to, he started getting more irate, yelling stuff like, ‘You’re freaking me out! You’re freaking me out!’”
Garner then allegedly reached into his glove compartment, pulled out a gun and fired one shot, hitting Ross.
It was a clean shot that went through his stomach and exited through his side, but the bullet struck his elbow.
When police arrived Garner told them he was “in fear of [his] life.”
He was detained, interviewed at police headquarters and later released.
The victim wanted to know why charges were not originally filed.
“I don’t know what their reason [was],” Ross said. “I don’t know. I couldn’t believe that.”
Police said the investigation is far from over.
“I think what’s most important is that we gather all pieces of the information before we rush to judgement,” said Murfreesboro police spokesman Sgt. Kyle Evans.
Evans continued, “We want to get a clear picture of exactly of what happened and understand what everybody’s intents and motives were that lead up to the shooting and then make a decision of what criminal charges are appropriate, if any.”
Police said with emotions running high, sometimes road rage incidents can be deadly.
“We would just urge people to just think twice before engaging in aggressive behavior while you’re driving down the road,” Evans said. “If someone cut you off or they do something, it’s not worth getting shot over or losing your life over.”
Ross said the suspect didn’t have to take it that far.
“Where he’s going to shoot and not even warn somebody,” Ross said. “I mean, just showing the gun would have been enough for me to back away as far as I could.”
Ross was taken to the hospital and has since been treated and released.
He said he is expected to be interviewed soon by detectives.
Both Ross and Garner are now charged in the incident. Ross is charged with simple assault and Garner is charged with aggravated assault.