Zachary Evan Matlock
ROGERSVILLE — A Hawkins County man allegedly used a woman’s cell phone to ambush a rival male suitor by inviting him over on the pretense of an early morning romantic rendezvous via text message, and then opening fire on him.
Shortly before 4:30 a.m. Saturday HCSO deputies Zachary England and Jason Montgomery were dispatched to the Carters Valley Volunteer Fire Department station to meet a man who claimed he’d been shot at.
Danny Willis, 34 of Surgoinsville told the deputies he’d sent a text message to a female friend at 2:30 a.m. that morning.
He received a reply message at 3:44 a.m. inviting him to come by the woman’s residence at a mobile home park on Caney Valley Loop far north of Surgoinsville near the Virginia state line.
Chief Deputy Tony Allen said the woman stated she has no steady boyfriend, although she had dated Zachary Evan Matlock, 23, 3535 Stanley Valley Road, Surgoinsville, on a few occasions.
Matlock was visiting the woman Saturday morning when Willis’s text arrived.
The woman told deputies that Matlock replied the text invitation back to Willis for the purpose of setting up an ambush, Allen added.
As far as Willis knew, however, the woman was completely unattached. Allen said Willis wasn’t attempting to “jump someone else’s claim.”
Willis told deputies that upon arriving at her residence and exiting his vehicle he noticed a male known to him as Matlock come out of the back door of the residence. It was later revealed that Matlock was allegedly under the influence of an unknown intoxicant.
“Danny said he saw what he thought to be a muzzle blast from a gun coming from Zachary’s hand,” England stated in his report. “Danny stated he took shelter behind his vehicle upon hearing the first gunshot. He then heard three to four more gunshots, at which time he got back into the vehicle and left.”
When deputies met Willis at the fire station they reportedly observed two graze marks on the hood of the vehicle which apparently were made by bullets.
The HCSO Tactical Team was called into apprehend Matlock at his residence later Saturday morning.
Shortly before 10 a.m. deputies had reportedly confirmed Matlock’s presence in the residence, although he hadn’t responded.
Cpl. Chad Britton said Matlock’s front door was unlocked and ajar, and deputies entered to find Matlock in a back bedroom in bed.
A .380 caliber Ruger handgun was allegedly found between the mattress and the bedspring, and deputies also allegedly found .45 caliber Colt lever action rifle on the coffee table in the living room.
Matlock has a lengthy criminal record including felony convictions for robbery and burglary, as well as meth and oxycontin possession.
Following his arraignment Monday on charges including aggravated assault and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm Matlock was released from the Hawkins County Jail on $10,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 5.