|Photo: Hawkins County Sheriff’s Department|
|Gary Wayne Parker of Surgoinsville, Tennessee killed his friend after a drunken argument over marijuana growing methods.|
A Tennessee man was shot dead early Friday morning during an alcohol-fueled argument over marijuana-growing techniques.
About 2:45 a.m. on Friday, deputies were called to a shooting complaint at the residence of Gary Wayne Parker, 55, in Surgoinsville, Tennessee. They found Randy J. Armstrong, 53, also of Surgoinsville, on the floor with a gunshot wound to the abdomen, reports Jeff Bobo of the Kingsport Times-News.
Armstrong was transported to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, where he later died.
It was Parker’s wife who called 911 to report the shooting, according to Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson. A .380-caliber handgun was recovered at the Parker residence.
Investigators said that Parker and Armstrong were old friends, and that Armstrong stopped by the Parker residence some time the previous night.
The two, who reportedly hadn’t seen each other for three or four years, started drinking Thursday night. Beer and liquor, along with a small amount of marijuana, were allegedly found at the Parker residence.
At some point during their reunion, the two men began looking up marijuana growing techniques and seed-purchasing sites on the Internet, and subsequently began to argue about that subject, according to Sheriff Lawson.
The sheriff said he didn’t know specifically what aspect of pot cultivation the disagreement was about.
Parker allegedly told investigators that he told Armstrong to leave. When Armstrong refused to go, he shot him. Parker is claiming self defense, according to Sheriff Lawson.
Parker was home when deputies arrived, and the sheriff claimed he wasn’t injured at the time. Sheriff Lawson claimed evidence at the scene didn’t support Parker’s self-defense claim.
But Parker appears bloody and injured in his jail intake photo. Parker was initially “too intoxicated” to give a statement, Sheriff Lawson said. The sheriff claimed Parker was alone in a holding area when he fell and injured himself.
“He didn’t get injured from a fight,” Lawson said. “He was intoxicated, and he fell face forward into the concrete at the jail.”
Parker was taken to Hawkins County Memorial Hospital, where he received stitches, and wasn’t sober enough to give a statement until Friday afternoon.
He is charged with second degree murder, and as of Friday afternoon, was being held without bond.
Parker has 10 previous arrests in Hawkins County, dating back to 1999, on charges including DUI, public intoxication and failure to appear in court, but Sheriff Lawson said this was his first serious felony charge.
No arraignment date had been set Friday afternoon, but Sheriff Lawson said Parker’s arraignment will likely be Monday morning in sessions court.
“Don’t think anybody’s ever been killed in a marijuana fueled argument over moonshining techniques,” one Toke of the Town reader commented on Facebook.