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Man jailed following Monday shooting
Jul 07, 2004 12:00 am
A Nashvillian wanted on robbery and assault charges has been jailed in the death of an Upton Heights man cut down late Monday by a barrage of gunfire, authorities say.
Officials said Andre Shannon, 22, of 34 Upton Heights, was pronounced dead at University Medical Center after being shot "multiple times" near his home at about 10:45 p.m. Monday.
Authorities would not discuss a possible motive for the slaying, declining comment when asked if the shooting appeared to be drug-related.
"At this point we really don't know. Our detectives are still trying to work on a motive," said Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen. "We've traditionally had some narcotics trafficking problems in that area, as you well know, and that's certainly something our investigators are looking into as far as a possible motive."
Several hours after the shooting was reported by residents of the federally funded housing development, authorities located a suspect identified as Ricky Whitlow of Nashville.
Whitlow, 44, was taken into custody about 5:30 a.m. and charged with criminal homicide some seven hours later, Bowen said. The suspect is being held under $750,000 bond pending his initial court date, which could come within the next few days.
At the time of his arrest Whitlow was wanted by Metro police on aggravated robbery charges, according to Bowen.
Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said Whitlow is wanted by that agency on four charges – three counts of aggravated robbery and one count of aggravated assault – returned by the Davidson County grand jury two years ago.
He said records indicate Whitlow does not have an extensive prior arrest record in Nashville.
Bowen said investigators are unsure why the suspect was in Upton Heights but noted that several recent violent crimes in local public housing developments have resulted in the arrests of out-of-town suspects.
"Once again, it appears we have someone in there who is not a resident and has no apparent business being in there at all," the police chief said.
The victim – who police said lived with his girlfriend – suffered "multiple gunshot wounds" while outside his home before he "ran across the street and collapsed in a neighbor's yard," Bowen said.
A nearby resident heard the gunfire and contacted police, with officers spotting the victim immediately upon arrival.
"Our dispatcher received a call of shots fired and the first units were there within just a couple of minutes," Bowen said. "The officers found the victim just as soon as they arrived."
He said Lebanon Public Safety Officers attempted to treat the victim's "numerous wounds" while an ambulance was summoned. Shannon, who has no known arrest record, died shortly after arrival at UMC, the police chief said.
Authorities said some potential witnesses to the murder were refusing to talk to investigators yesterday, often one of the hallmarks of violent crime inside each of the city's public housing developments as well as the low-income communities that surround them. Police frequently complain of uncooperative witnesses when investigating incidents in sections of the city hardest hit by crime, the most recent example coming May 31 when a man was stabbed to death outside his apartment in the South Maple Street area. In that case authorities said their investigation was hampered by several witnesses reluctant to talk to detectives.
"I've found that to be the case since I first started working here," Bowen said. "We just tend to get an unusually low level of cooperation in some areas."
In the slaying of Shannon, he said "several" potential witnesses have cold feet when it comes to supplying investigators with information about the fatal shooting.
"We have several people that we feel pretty sure saw exactly what happened; they just won't tell us. Some of the witnesses our officers have interviewed have not been cooperative at all and that just hinders our investigation," Bowen said.
By mid-afternoon yesterday yellow crime scene tape protruding from a green city-owned garbage can was the only visible reminder of Shannon's death. The few nearby residents braving the day's blistering heat declined to speak to a reporter and there was apparently no one at home inside the unit the victim reportedly shared with his girlfriend.
The deadly shooting marked the city's second homicide of 2004, the first coming with May's fatal stabbing on South Maple Street. A suspect was charged in that killing shortly after it was reported.
Senior Staff Writer Brooks Franklin can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 14 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.