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Chattanooga attorney shot after breaking home; couple describes the 'bizarre' evening

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RINGGOLD, GA (Times Free Press) -

UPDATE: A Chattanooga attorney is facing charges -- and recovering from a gunshot wound.

Officials say he broke into an elderly couple's home in Rossville. It happened Tuesday night on Cloud Springs Road.

The Catoosa County Sheriff's Office says 29-year-old Matthew Jack Fitzharris faces a long list of charges including burglary and aggravated assault.

The suspect busted into Alice and Jake Hanshaw’s kitchen door. The intruder was carrying a blanket, pillow and a stuff animal and demanded to stay the night.

"He was planning on moving here! Nothing on but his shorts, a pair of shorts, no shoes, no shirt, no nothing,” Alice said.

Alice said she asked the intruder, identified by investigators as Matthew Fitzharris, to leave and called 911.

“I seen he wasn't armed so I thought I could talk him down, but if he'd been armed we'd be dead that's all there is to it,” Alice said.

Alice and her husband Jake were able to distract Fitzharris and grab the couple's handgun to scare Fitzharris off. But he came back, according to an arrest report 29-year-old Fitzharris grabbed his blanket and ran to the backyard where the couple's niece lives in a separate unit.


Fitzharris bolted up the stairs, and began throwing flower pots and chairs at the elderly couple as they begged him to leave.

“He jumped up like a monkey all four feet like a monkey. I never seen anything like it in my life. He said I’ll kill myself and I said go ahead be my guest I don't care,” Alice described.

Fitzharris fell through the roof of the shed and ran toward the couple.           In self-defense, Jake says he fired two rounds.


One hit the ground, the other struck Fitzharris' arm before he took off.


Police found Fitzharris in his car suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to a local hospital then booked in the Catoosa county jail.

His attorney tells channel 3 his client has suffered a series of apparent psychotic episodes in recent weeks and is need of evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. It’s unclear why Fitzharris entered the couple's home, but his attorney says he was confused.


A decision on Fitzharris' bond was deferred this afternoon to Catoosa county superior court.
He will undergo a psychological evaluation.

The Hanshaw’s say they are a bit shaken up, but won’t live in fear.

Count on Channel 3 to update you on this story.


PREVIOUS STORY: A Chattanooga attorney was shot Tuesday after police say he broke into an elderly couple's house, threatened them, vowed to leave, returned anyway, climbed on the roof, and threw plants at them.

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