|A typographical error has been corrected. The actual date of Mr. Cheatham’s death was Monday, January 23, 2017. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.
As previously released:
The man critically injured in Saturday night’s shooting incident has died. Following is an updated and supplemented news release documenting the current status of the investigation. While many details remain unchanged, there are additional pieces of information scattered throughout the narrative, to include the identity of the decedent and a plea for witnesses to come forward.
On Saturday, January 21, 2017 at approximately 11:45 PM, Kingsport Central Dispatch received virtually simultaneous notifications of two major incidents in close proximity to one another within the City of Kingsport.
An incident involving shots fired was reported at Bloomingdale Terrace Apartments, located at 124 Bloomingdale Pike. Seconds later, a serious motor vehicle crash was reported less than a mile away in the 500 block of Jackson Street near the intersection of West Stone Drive. Officers from the Kingsport Police Patrol Division rushed to the scenes of both incidents.
Responding officers were almost immediately able to determine that the two incidents were connected. Due to the serious nature of their initial findings, Detectives from the K.P.D. Criminal Investigations Division along with Crash and Crime Scene Reconstructionists from the K.P.D. Traffic Unit were called in to investigate. Their resultant inquiry revealed the following:
A black male adult suspect, initially only identified by the nickname “Chop,” and another black male adult, later identified as Kc Cheatham, were both at Bloomingdale Terrace Apartments. At some point shots were fired, which resulted in Mr. Cheatham fleeing the complex in a gray Ford Focus with “Chop” giving chase in a white Chevrolet Impala.
The vehicles traveled along Bloomingdale Pike and made a right turn to westbound West Stone Drive. Detectives have reason to believe that additional shots were fired along the way while the vehicles were in motion. The Ford occupied by Mr. Cheatham suddenly swerved off of Stone Drive, entered a yard in the 500 block of Jackson Street, and collided with a tree. The Chevrolet occupied by “Chop” fled the scene.
Responding officers found Mr. Cheatham lying on the ground next to the Ford Focus. He was bleeding from the head from what was later determined to be a gunshot wound. Sullivan County E.M.S. responded and transported him to Holston Valley Medical Center for emergency medical treatment. He was initially listed in critical condition with serious life-threatening injuries.
The investigation continued non-stop throughout the remainder of the night and into the following morning. Detectives developed probable cause to believe that “Chop” had fired the shot that struck Mr. Cheatham. On Sunday, January 22, 2017 at approximately 8:00 AM “Chop” was tracked down and taken into custody without incident in the Midfield area of Kingsport.
He was still traveling in the same white Chevrolet Impala from the earlier incident. At the time of his arrest, “Chop” was positively identified as James L. Powell, III. Mr. Powell was charged with Attempted First Degree Murder and incarcerated within the Kingsport City Jail. He was arraigned the following morning, and has since been transferred to the Sullivan County Jail in Blountville, where he remains confined with no current eligibility for bond.
On Monday, January 23, 2017 at 1:18 PM, Mr. Cheatham died at Holston Valley Medical Center after succumbing to his injuries.
While the specific motivators that spurred the altercation will not be disclosed, there is sufficient evidence to believe that this event was indeed drug-related. This incident continues to be thoroughly examined by both the Kingsport Police Department Criminal Investigations Division and Traffic Unit.
Detectives are still attempting to identify and track down any and all potential witnesses to this incident. Anyone who observed or has any additional information regarding any portion of this incident including: 1) the initial shooting at the apartment complex, 2) any point while the vehicles were in motion along West Stone Drive between Bloomingdale Pike and Jackson Street, 3) the actual crash on Jackson Street, or 4) the aftermath following the crash prior to police arrival, is asked to promptly contact the K.P.D. Criminal Investigations Division at 423-229-9429.
As this remains an open and extremely active investigation, and in the interest of an untainted future prosecution, no additional details will be released at this time.