Child dead after apparent murder-suicide

Investigators are still working to figure out what sparked weekend gunfire that left two people, including a 6 year old child dead.

Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reese said Heather Buchanan then fired a shot at an officer and ran into the woods with her 6 year old daughter, Alexis. Both were later found dead. (WJHL)

JOHNSON COUNTY, TN (WJHL-TV) - Investigators are still working to figure out what sparked weekend gunfire that left two people, including a 6 year old child dead. The Johnson County Sheriff's Office calls the incident an apparent murder-suicide.

Officers responded to a report of a shooting late Saturday night at a home on McEwen Road in Mountain City. They found 50 year old Mark Johnson with gunshot wounds. The Johnson County Sheriff's Office identified the shooter as Johnson's girlfriend, 31 year old Heather Buchanan. Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reese said Buchanan then fired a shot at an officer and ran into the woods with her 6 year old daughter, Alexis.

After an overnight search on foot and by helicopter, Sheriff Reese said a neighbor discovered the child and her mother's bodies Sunday morning. Both had gunshot wounds to the head.

Sheriff Reese told us investigators are reviewing evidence and are currently trying to determine the motive. He says they plan on speaking with Mark Johnson to determine what lead to the shootings. Sheriff Reese says Johnson is currently in stable condition at an area hospital.

Sheriff Reese also told us this was not Heather Buchanan's first encounter with law enforcement.

"She's been in and out of the facility here several times. She's had other charges in other states. Some drug related and other misdemeanor charges," said Sheriff Mike Reese.

Buchanan's previous charges include possession of drug paraphernalia, vandalism and probation violation. Sheriff Reese told us officers have never been called to check on Buchanan for child neglect or abuse.

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Child Services told us in the past three years, they've made contact with Heather Buchanan two times. The most recent was in March. The department would not identify the reason.


Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to webmaster@wvlt-tv.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus

WVLT VOLUNTEER TV

6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 224960542 - local8now.com/a?a=224960542