Kingsport Times News Friday, September 19, 2014

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Hawkins Commission honors Cherokee senior who used her body to shield children from gunfire

December 16th, 2013 11:37 pm by Jeff Bobo

Hawkins Commission  honors Cherokee  senior who used her body to shield children from gunfire

Sophia Toney, second from left, was honored by the Hawkins County Commission. She is the daughter of Greg and Melissa Toney, center. Also shown are Sheriff Ronnie Lawson, left, and Commissioner Joe McLain, right. Photo by Jeff Bobo

ROGERSVILLE — What started as an innocent hayride on the night of Oct. 10 turned into a horror ride as Trevor Lee Burton allegedly opened fire on a group of children who were riding in a wagon being pulled by an ATV in a field near his home.

Bullets were whizzing by as Burton allegedly fired a handgun while chasing the wagon on foot. 

That’s when 17-year-old Cherokee High School senior Sophia Toney’s instincts kicked in as she used her body to shield two 6-year-old boys and a 3-year-old girl in the wagon from the gunfire until they reached safety. 

Fortunately no one was shot, and Burton was arrested several hours later after hiding from police in a wooded area in the Caney Creek community north of Rogersville where the incident occurred.

Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said Monday that Toney’s actions were among the most heroic he has encountered in his 36 years of law enforcement.

Toney, who is the daughter of Greg and Melissa Toney, was honored Monday night by the Hawkins County Commission with a written proclamation and a standing ovation.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Tuesday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.


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