Nephew remembers uncle killed in McMinn double shooting
MCMINN COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -
McMinn County investigators believe a 40-year-old business grudge was part of the reason behind a double shooting over the weekend. Seventy-eight-year-old Bobby Russell turned himself into authorities Saturday and confessed to shooting and injuring one man and shooting and killing another.
When Bobby Russell turned himself in to McMinn deputies he indicated his motive was tied to a business deal made more than 40 years ago when he sold a package store on Highway 411 in Englewood. Police say he attempted to kill the current store owner and shot and killed another man who was tied to the sale.
"He felt like my uncle and Bill had done him wrong in this deal," says Mike Garren, nephew of Bill Culberson.
Mike Garren is still trying to wrap his mind around why 78-year-old Bobby Russell shot and killed his 80-year-old Uncle Bill Culberson and tried to kill the owner of the 411 Package Store, Bill Haney.
"Whatever Bob was mad about, Bob could have come and talked to my Uncle Bill, and Uncle Bill would have made it right no matter what," says Garren.
Deputies were called to the store around 9 o'clock Saturday night. They found store owner, Bill Haney, with multiple gunshot wounds. He managed to tell investigators Bobby Russell was the shooter.
"We were in the process of working the crime scene when another call came out," says McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy.
Guy says his deputies were called to Bill Culberson's home on County Road 478 about an hour and half later. Culberson had been shot and killed in his driveway.
"He was a long time friend of the community, business owner, someone I've known my whole life," says Guy.
Affidavits obtained by Channel 3 reveal Russell turned himself into authorities and confessed to both crimes. He says he walked into Bill Haney's business and told him he was "going to kill him." He pulled a revolver from his coat and started shooting.
Russell told investigators he then went to Bill Culberson's house and confronted him in his driveway and "shot him twice." When questioned, Russell would only tell police he wanted to "pay both men back for a business transaction from years ago."
"We're not sure of his mental state. What would cause him to do that. All we know is that is what he relayed to us," says Sheriff Guy.
"He touched many people's lives. He'll always be remembered as a wonderful person," says Garren.
Holding back tears, Mike says he wants justice for his uncle but holds no ill-will toward Bobby Russell.
"You want to be angry with the man. But my Uncle Bill would forgive him," says Garren.
Bobby Russell was arraigned in court Monday morning and will have a public defender assigned to him. He is being held on a $150,000 bond but the District Attorney is looking to raise that. Russell will be back in court for another hearing Friday.