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Search for potential gunman goes cold in Mt. Juliet woods

Staff Reports • Mar 19, 2017 at 4:08 PM

A search for a potential gunman in a wooded area near the Hickory Hills subdivision Saturday night turned up cold.

Police were unable to locate anyone after an extensive search on foot, by air, through the help of a K-9 and using forward-infrared-looking cameras.

The wooded area searched is expansive with thick brush and caves that cross into Metro-Nashville Davidson County. Mt. Juliet special response team members equipped with FLIR searched the area on foot, with assistance from a K-9 unit from Lebanon police. In addition, Tennessee Highway Patrol’s aviation unit assisted by air using a helicopter with FLIR. However, the suspect wasn’t found.

Mt. Juliet police believe previous reports of an armed homeless suspect living in the woods are legitimate. After he threatened two children walking and firing a shot near two adults on an ATV in a separate incident, it is believed suspect did not want police to find him. On Saturday, at around 2:30 p.m., officers responded to a wooded area behind Leesa Ann Lane after two children reported a man threatened to harm them while they were walking in the woods. Officers responded, but they were unable to find anyone. However, they did locate an abandoned vehicle and campsite. There was evidence of someone shooting a firearm. Also on Saturday at around 7:30 p.m., officers responded to a report from two people on an ATV regarding an unknown man who fired a single shot at them.

If anyone is spotted in the woods near the Hickory Hills subdivision, police should be notified immediately. Also, police plan extra patrols in the wooded-area and to work with the property owner to ensure no one is camping in that area.

Alerts to the public were initially delayed while special response team members worked in the area. Their safety and protecting their active location was paramount, police officials said. In the event the suspect had access to text alerts or social media, police did not want to alert him of their covert attempt to find him.

Anyone with any information regarding the incident is encouraged to call Mt. Juliet police at 615-754-2550. Information may also be given anonymously by calling 615-754-8477 or at mjpd.org.