The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is trying to find out how a Polk County inmate got his hands on a gun that he ultimately used on himself Thursday afternoon.

It happened off Highway 64 at the E. Parksville Boat Ramp, shortly after 2:30 p.m.

TBI spokeswoman Susan Niland says 48-year-old Freddy Ruth shot himself after picking up litter near the East Parksville boat ramp.

Niland says agents are trying to determine how Ruth was able to get the gun.

Ruth was flown from the scene to Erlanger, where he remains hospitalized.

His condition is unknown.

Niland says the investigation is ongoing.

Stay with for updates to this developing story.