KINGSPORT — Joseph H. Adkins, also known as Joseph Morrison, is wanted for murder following the Saturday shooting of his wife in the Vernon Heights neighborhood.
Authorities said the 49-year-old Adkins should be considered armed and dangerous.
Katherine M. Adkins, age unavailable, died Saturday afternoon shortly after being transported to the Holston Valley Medical Center emergency department.
The estranged husband is suspected of shooting his wife with a pistol multiple times inside the living room of 119 Shady View Road shortly before noon Saturday, witnesses and police said.
He fled the scene, which neighbors said was the home of his mother-in-law, before authorities arrived.
A front window in the house had at least one gunshot hole through it.
The Kingsport Police Department has issued a warrant for Adkins’ arrest on first-degree murder charges and is asking that anyone with information about his whereabouts contact Kingsport police at (423) 246-9111 or their local law enforcement.
After the shooting inside the house, neighbors said, the suspect came outside the house and discharged a pistol near three of his own children and five other children across the street before fleeing the scene in his 4-wheel-drive truck.
Authorities described the vehicle as a 1990s Dodge 2500 model, green with a blue hood and damage to the right side, although initial reports and some neighbors said it looked dark blue or black to them and others said it was a two-tone green with a little silver.
At least three Kingsport police officers, EMS and the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office responded to the house at the corner of Shady View Road and Hawaii Street, just off the Sullivan Gardens Parkway near Interstate 26. Initial reports indicated the suspect’s truck was headed toward I-26.
“He just walked in out of nowhere,” said neighbor Steve White, who like another neighbor who witnessed all or part of the shooting, said the truck was parked somewhere away from the house.
The Whites and another neighbor across the road, who identified herself only as “Chastity,” said three children on the side of the street where the shooting occurred and children on the other side of the street ran and ducked when the outdoor shooting began.
White said he and one of the shooting victim’s sons worked to control bleeding from at least three wounds until paramedics from the Sullivan County Emergency Medical Service arrived.
The Whites had two children in their front yard at the time, and the other neighbor had her two children and a sister-in-law’s daughter. All the children on the side opposite the shooting site were 10 years of age or younger, the neighbors said.
They said the outside shooting began just as three boys pulled up in a Camero and started to get out of the car.
“They pulled up as he walked out. That’s when he opened fire on them,” said Chastity, adding that the three children getting out of the car were the children of the victim and suspect. “This isn’t supposed to happen in our neighborhood.”
Gerald Davis of Johnson City was doing yard work in his brother’s and sister-in-law’s front yard — 115 Shady View Road next door to the shooting — when he said he saw a a dark pickup truck go down the road and later saw a man walk into the house.
After hearing four shots, he said he ducked inside to protect himself and warn his sister-in-law, but he said that he saw “somebody” run out with something in his hand.
Other neighbors said they heard three shots inside the house and two outside. A vehicle may have been hit by one shot, but neighbors said the driver left before police arrived.
Officer Dustin Jackson at the crime scene said he could give no more details. Detective Cpl. Jason Bellamy issued the news release under the supervision of Sgt. Gerald Hurd.