Memphis police nab John John Tears

Friday, May 30, 2008

Memphis Police have captured a Lewisburg man wanted here on an attempted murder charge from a May 11 shooting at a nightclub.

Jonathan Doran "John John" Tears, 29, of Seventh Avenue North was brought back to Lewisburg Tuesday afternoon to face a charge filed by city police in connection with the shooting of Gary Dejuan O'Neal, 27, of Monroe Street at the Soul Train Bar and Grille, according to Police Chief Chuck Forbis.

Police Sgt. Dac Burrow said Memphis Police called at about 1:45 a.m. Tuesday to confirm that police here had the outstanding attempted murder warrant and to report that they had Tears in custody. Tears was taken into custody at an apartment building.

"Somehow he was identified at the apartment complex as having an active warrant from Lewisburg," Burrow said Wednesday morning. "To my knowledge, they had no charges against him" for crimes in Memphis.

Detective Jimmy Oliver has been leading the investigation into O'Neal's shooting and he drove to Memphis to bring Tears back to the Marshall County Jail.

Jail Administrator Sam Bragg said Tears was booked in at 7:51 p.m. Tuesday.

Burrow said Magistrate Bobby Johnson had Tears held without bond until Marshall County General Sessions Court Judge Steve Bowden could consider the issue.

Bragg said Bowden set Tears' bond at $500,000 on Wednesday morning.

Other developments with regard to the Soul Train Bar & Grille include the condition of the victim and a separate case involving a stolen gun.

O'Neal has been released from Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he was being treated, Burrow said. O'Neal suffered a gunshot wound that apparently entered his chest and exited his right side.

The shooting victim would not have been shot had he been where he was ordered to be by Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell, according to the jail administrator. Russell had ordered O'Neal to report to the county jail here to serve 60 days in connection with an offense stemming from a child support case.

Since O'Neal was released by Vanderbilt hospital, sheriff's officials were asked if he had reported to the jail yet. He had not, Bragg said.

"We do have an order for him to serve 60 days," the jail administrator said. "If he was released from the hospital, I would imagine that the court would issue some sort of contempt attachment for failing to report to jail as ordered by the court."

O'Neal's recovery from the shooting might be a factor for the court to consider, Bragg said.

Bragg said he would prepare the appropriate notice to Russell so the judge would have documents upon which he might make a decision.

Meanwhile, Police Officer Larry Hazelwood, the patrolman who responded to the call about O'Neal's shooting, has arrested Ellis D. Woods, 66, of 1391 Silver Creek Road, on charges alleging possession of a stolen hand gun and assault on a law enforcement officer.

Woods was arrested at about 11:10 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of Liggett and School streets, according to the officer's report.

Shortly before that, Hazelwood had been on patrol and noticed a security guard at Soul Train, so he stopped to talk. While there, Woods and another man arrived and were asked by security guard Gray G. Stanley to not take weapons into the nightclub.

Since Hazelwood heard the conversation, he suggested Woods avoid trouble, know the law on weapons and be safe, the officer's report states. Hazelwood said he tried to avoid an argument, but Woods was "irate and argumentative."

Woods said if "'dumb, small town cops aren't going to leave him alone' then he 'should sue this ... town,'" Hazelwood's report states. As Woods was about to drive away, he "yelled out, 'What I should do is put a bullet in your head.'"

Hazelwood drove after Woods, stopped him nearby, arrested him and searched the car, the incident report states. The search revealed a 9mm Ruger valued at $500, and listed by the National Crime Information Computer system as reported stolen in Spartenburg, S.C.

Woods was booked at the county jail and his bond was set at $1,500. He's due in court at 2 p.m. July 7.