Shooting leaves man hospitalized

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Lewisburg man was in stable condition at a Nashville hospital recovering from a gunshot wound suffered early Sunday. On Monday city police named a suspect wanted on an attempted murder charge.

Gary Dejuan O'Neal, 27, of 1380 Monrow St., was shot through the chest with the bullet leaving an exit wound on his right side, according to Officer Larry Hazelwood, who was dispatched to Marshall Medical Center.

While at the hospital's emergency room, Hazelwood was told "the shooter was Jonathan Doran Tears, also known as John John Tears," a 29-year-old resident of the 300 block of Seventh Avenue North.

Monday morning, officials said the suspect was "on the run" from the shooting scene, the Soul Train Bar and Grille where First Avenue North merges with Verona Avenue.

No information was available from Vanderbilt University Medical Center with regard to O'Neal's condition, but Police Chief Chuck Forbis reported his officers had been told O'Neal was in stable condition. Forbis said officers hoped to be able to talk with O'Neal before presstime.

Detective Cpl. Jimmy Oliver is the lead investigator, Forbis said. Police have interviewed eyewitnesses.

In a prepared statement, police said that at 1:18 a.m. Sunday police received a 911 call about a fight at the restaurant. Subsequently, another 911 caller said someone had been shot.

At the restaurant, police "were just getting out of the car when that second call came in," Forbis said.

The department's press release said "Marshall Medical Center called and advised that they had (O'Neal) at the emergency room with a gunshot wound." O'Neal was later transported to the Nashville hospital.

Police have asked for help in apprehending Tears. Anyone with information is asked calls to call 359-4044.

Tears is named in court cases on file at the Marshall County Circuit Court Clerk's office, where those public records state he was arrested on Jan. 11, 2001, by city police Detective James Whitsett on a charge of having enough cocaine to be considered a dealer. A marijuana possession charge was also filed against Tears.

The shooting suspect, whose nickname was listed in the court record as Jon Jon, was a resident of Finley Beech Road in 2001.

Indicted in August that year on a drug possession charge, Tears was found guilty by a jury on Feb. 4, 2002, and sentenced on March 11, 2002, by Circuit Court Judge Charles Lee, who imposed a 12-year sentence. The term, however, was to be served at 30 percent, meaning Tears was eligible for a parole board hearing after serving nearly three years and seven months. That drug case file includes references to a June 1997 sentence.