Woman Brutally Murdered

Woman shot, killed in front of her two children

By Abby Morris and
Thomas Wilson

Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com; twilson@starhq.com

   An unidentified woman was shot and killed Monday morning while she was sitting in a parked vehicle with her two young children at a local fast food restaurant in what police are describing as a "domestic related incident."
   The woman, a 27-year-old white female, was sitting in the driver's seat of a white Jeep Cherokee 4x4 when a man approached the vehicle and shot her. "She received two gunshot wounds -- one to the head and one to the chest," said Elizabethton Police Department Capt. Tom Bowers.
   Emergency personnel from the Carter County Rescue Squad removed the woman from the vehicle and transported her to the emergency room at Sycamore Shoals Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival, according to Bowers.
   According to radio transmissions between officers on the scene and dispatchers at the 911 Communications Center, the victim was unresponsive when officers arrived.
   Bowers said that, after police arrived, the children were taken into custody by Child Protective Services. Peters said the children were ages 1 and 3-years-old.
   At the scene, detectives and other officers interviewed witnesses who had been at the restaurant at the time of the incident.
   "It appears this might be a domestic-related incident," said EPD Capt. Mike Peters of the Criminal Investigations Division.
   According to Peters, witnesses told officers they had seen the woman with a man and the two had been arguing inside the restaurant when the woman left with her two children. "The victim came back to her vehicle and the suspect followed her out," Peters said, adding that after following her out, the man shot the woman and then fled the scene.
   According to Bowers, the woman had been talking on a cell phone with a friend at the time she was shot, and the friend was the individual who called 911.
   In radio transmissions to officers on the scene, 911 dispatchers told police that they were issuing a BOLO for the suspect vehicle to neighboring jurisdictions. The suspect's vehicle was identified by Elizabethton Police Department Chief Roger Deal as a brown, mid-90's Ford van with a blue stripe.
   Detectives and officers worked at the scene to gather evidence once the victim was removed and the children were in safe custody. According to Deal, the children were uninjured in the attack.
   The window on the front passenger side door had been shattered and bullet casings were visible on the ground around the passenger side of the vehicle. According to police, the woman was shot with a 9-millimeter firearm and five spent shell casings for that caliber of a weapon were located at the scene.
   A bullet hole that entered the inside of the driver's door and then exited through the outside of the door was also visible.
   According to Deal, an autopsy has been ordered on the victim.
   "We do have a suspect and a possible motive at this time," Bowers said.
   The search for the suspect continued on Monday evening as officers searched the county for the vehicle he was seen leaving the scene in and made other attempts to locate him as well, according to police.
   Deal said Monday afternoon that the exact relationship between the assailant and the victim was unknown.
   "We believe the victim knew the shooter and the shooter knew the victim, but we don't know at this time to what extent," said Deal.
   Deal said detectives were seeking to question 34-year-old Steven Allen Jones in connection with the shooting. Jones is reportedly wanted by Lauderdale County, Tenn., authorities on a charge of escape, police said. He was being held in the detention facility there because of overcrowding in the Sullivan County jail.  Jones was charged with numerous offenses in Sullivan County dating back to 1989, including assault with intent to commit first degree murder, possession of cocaine for resale and parole violation.
   Steven Allen Jones is described as being 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighing 185 pounds with brown eyes and red hair. Police described Jones as "armed and dangerous."
   Deal asked any citizens with knowledge of Jones' whereabouts to contact the Elizabethton Police Department 542-4141 or the Criminal Investigations Division at 547-6413.