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KPD: Ball-peen hammer attack spurs attempted murder charge

November 22nd, 2013 10:39 am by Rain Smith

KPD: Ball-peen hammer attack spurs attempted murder charge

Matthew D. Johnson

KINGSPORT — An ongoing dispute between a pair of Kingsport men turned bloody on Thursday, according to police, after one of the men met with the other under the pretense of burying the hatchet, but instead attacked him with a ball-peen hammer.

Matthew D. Johnson, 21, address provided as 2014 Birchfield Court, is charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and felony vandalism. A Kingsport Police Department incident report says his victim, age 50, flagged police down on Manor Court at approximately 9:45 p.m.

He had reportedly been hit with the hammer "numerous times"  in the head and upper body, with an officer observing a significant amount of blood on his face. After calling for EMS to treat the man, police went to the location of the assault, Johnson's nearby home. A report says two women were located inside, one of whom is Johnson's mother.

She said her son and the victim, who are identified as acquaintances in the police report, had been "arguing for several days." On Thursday, Johnson allegedly called his mother and requested that someone bring the man to Birchfield Court, claiming he wanted to meet and "make up."

But when the subsequent encounter occurred at the residence, Johnson "immediately" launched his attack. After allegedly striking the man multiple times with the hammer, Johnson is then alleged to have stolen his wallet and cell phone.

The victim told police that he ran to his car but had to wait for a gate to open before driving out of the community. That's when Johnson allegedly ran up to the man's 2011 Hyundai Sonata with a large rock in hand, striking the right rear door. Police estimated the damage at $1,000.

Witnesses told police that Johnson ran from the area. As officers traveled back and forth from the scene of the assault to where the victim was located, Johnson returned to the residence. An arrest report says he was located in a back bathroom "attempting to clean blood off the floor." The victim's stolen phone was allegedly in his possession, though the wallet was not located.

Johnson was arrested and transported to the Kingsport City Jail. Police say they don't know what fueled the initial disagreement between the two men.

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