Kingsport's Trump coverage assault, Jesus squabble, stolen squirrel and more

Rain Smith • Dec 26, 2018 at 3:17 PM

This installment of the Times News blotter contains some of the highs and lows of Kingsport police reports in 2018.

Jan. 20

At the Fort Henry Mall, a man who had been in Payless Shoes “for several hours” began yelling and cursing employees. When the suspect moved to another store and was confronted by mall security, he reached in his waistband, made threats and claimed to have a gun. Once the unarmed man was escorted outside, he threw a cinder block at a security guard, but missed, then was arrested by responding police for assault and disorderly conduct.

Feb. 17

A man reported that while at a residence on Memorial Boulevard, he turned the TV to CNN and his uncle suddenly “attacked.” The 34-year-old victim was found to have facial swelling and bleeding, while the suspect, 52, admitted to being “provoked.” Questioning of another person revealed that the uncle gets mad when his nephew “talks bad about” Donald Trump. He also “doesn’t like CNN.” When the uncle demanded the channel be changed, the victim reportedly refused and “kept grinning in spite,” thus spurring the violent outburst. The uncle was arrested for simple assault.

March 20

Shortly before midnight, police were called to a disturbance inside Waffle House on East Stone Drive. A responding officer found a man “swinging what appeared to be a guitar at employees and a restaurant guest.” Witnesses reported that the suspect had entered and started removing wet clothes, hanging them on chairs to dry. When asked to stop, he started screaming and pushed someone, then heaved his guitar over the counter toward the manager. He was arrested for disorderly conduct and public intoxication.

April 24

Outside a Memorial Boulevard motel, police found a man beating on a door and creating a disturbance. Though “obviously intoxicated,” he immediately denied being drunk, then explained “his girlfriend was mad at him over a squirrel.” When a woman in the room was questioned, she explained that he had stolen her pet squirrel. An officer located the animal “tied up in a pillowcase” near the room and returned it to the female. The man was arrested for public intoxication.

May 31

A 65-year-old man called police to an apartment on Riverbend Drive, saying his son had hit him in the face with a plastic urinal, threatened to duct tape his mouth closed and choked him with a towel. The suspect was found floating in the nearby South Fork, and explained he was swimming “because it is not illegal.” Nonetheless, he was arrested for aggravated domestic assault.

June 30

Police were dispatched to a pair of men fighting outside Golden Corral on North Eastman Road. Both suspects were still on the scene, with one wearing a T-shirt that read “Jesus hates p^[email protected]” The shirt’s text had spurred the manager to ask that he leave the restaurant — at the request of the other diner, who was offended — and the two men later had words in the parking lot. During the altercation, one man stated that he had a carry permit and displayed a firearm. Ultimately, no one wished to file charges, and police took no action.

July 11

Following reports of someone “acting weird” along the Greenbelt, an officer found a man lying on his back along the path and sweating profusely. When asked if he needed an ambulance, he allegedly, “elevated his right hand and extended his middle finger towards me.” When ordered to sit up, the man flipped off the officer a second time. Due to his noncompliance and suspected drug use, a Taser was deployed to bring him into custody. Despite his assertion that he was just “sunbathing,” he was jailed for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Aug. 5

When police were called to Rain nightclub on Stone Drive, they found a man bleeding from the nose and mouth. Though he couldn’t recall what occurred, officers observed “boot prints on the side of his face and back of his head.” According to witnesses, he had been “trying to pick a fight” with several different patrons, while bragging about being a Marine and MMA fighter. He was last seen arguing with a man of “large build,” but no one interviewed said they saw a fight.

Sept. 30

As a man used the bathroom at Belk in the Fort Henry Mall, he noticed someone holding an iPhone over the top of his stall. He said that the suspect then placed his hand under the divider two separate times and "made a motion." Store staff were alerted to the incident and confronted the suspect. Before departing in his vehicle, he allegedly told the employees, “Well, I didn’t take any pictures, did I?” A license tag was provided to police, who then visited the man’s home. He admitted being at Belk but denied taking photos or videos. No images were immediately found, but his phone was confiscated as evidence. The suspect, age 60, was also banned from the mall for 10 years.

Oct. 17

At 12:30 a.m., police were alerted to a possibly intoxicated person on the Kingsport Greenbelt. Near Riverfront Park, a responding officer located a naked man, 23, who claimed he was “trying to get right with the Lord and decided to baptize himself in the river.” He was placed into custody for indecent exposure.

Nov. 19

Indecent exposure was reported outside the Food City on Moreland Drive. A woman said that a vehicle parked beside her, then the driver used a flashlight to illuminate his penis while masturbating. She fled in her car, and a police search couldn’t locate the suspect’s truck.

Dec. 6

Police responded to a disturbance at Lincoln Elementary, where a Christmas pageant was being held by first- and second-graders. A woman, 36, claimed that a child accidentally bumped into her daughter, so she told the other juvenile she should say, “Excuse me.” An altercation ensued, then escalated to a 20-year-old man allegedly pushing her. The woman reportedly fell backward and hit her back on a set of stairs but declined medical attention. An officer advised how she could privately pursue an assault charge. She said she would do so.

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