The following vignettes describe the circumstances for killings not ruled self-defense by private individuals with permits to carry concealed handguns. The incidents below all occurred in Alabama. The descriptions include the current, known status of any charges filed against the concealed carry killer as reported by news sources as well as noting instances where the perpetrator committed suicide.
The Violence Policy Center welcomes any new information regarding the status of any case (with verifiable source(s)). Use this link to contact the VPC: http://www.vpc.org/contact.htm.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Tykee Smith PENDING
Date: August 2, 2014
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On August 2, 2014, concealed handgun permit holder Tykee Smith, 19, allegedly shot and killed Charles David Thomas, 20, following an argument. Thomas had reportedly been in an argument with Smith’s mother, with whom Thomas had fathered two children. According to police, Thomas and Smith got into an argument outside a residence and after the argument escalated the two exchanged gunfire. Thomas was struck and died at the scene. Smith was questioned by detectives and released after claiming self defense in the shooting, but a warrant was later issued for his arrest. Smith turned himself in and was released a short time later on a $2,500 bond. Smith has been charged with murder.
Source: “19-year-old killed the 20-year-old father of his 2 half-siblings in self-defense, attorney says,” al.com, August 6, 2014.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Adrian Laroze Briskey CONVICTED
Date: November 30, 2013
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On November 30, 2013, concealed handgun permit holder Adrian Laroze Briskey, 31, shot and killed Michelle Shepherd, 36, following an argument at a 2013 “Iron Bowl” party. Briskey and Shepherd were at a party to watch the football game between Alabama and Auburn, and began arguing after the game ended. Shepherd and her sister were joking around about the Miami Heat, and Briskey became angry that they were not more upset over Alabama’s loss to Auburn in the football game. Briskey then went to her car and got her gun as Shepherd and her sister were going to their car. Briskey shot Shepherd three or four times, killing her. Briskey was charged with murder and later pleaded guilty to reckless manslaughter. She was sentenced to 14 years and nine months in prison.
Source: “Fairfield woman sentenced for 2013 Iron Bowl party shooting death,” al.com, July 26, 2016.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Ryan Clark Petersen CONVICTED
Date: August 9, 2012
People Killed: 3
Circumstances: On August 9, 2012, concealed handgun permit holder Ryan Clark Petersen allegedly shot and killed Cameron Eubanks, 20, Tiffany Grissett, 31, and Thomas Robins, Jr., 39, at Teasers, a nightclub located 12 miles west of Dothan, Alabama. Surveillance videos showed Petersen going outside the club after becoming involved in an altercation with employees and others inside. He is alleged to have retrieved his handgun from his vehicle and, upon his return to the club, pulled the Glock pistol from his coat pocket and fired. According to the prosecution, Petersen lied about his mental and drug issues in order to join the Navy and obtain a pistol permit. Petersen is charged with capital murder.
UPDATE: In December 2016, Ryan Clark Petersen was found guilty of four counts of capital murder in the 2012 shooting at Teasers Nightclub. In January 2017, a jury recommended Petersen be put to death, voting 10-2 for the death penalty following two hours of deliberation.
Source: “Jury recommends death penalty in Wicksburg nightclub murders,” Dothan Eagle, January 5, 2017; “Petersen guilty of capital murder in 2012 Teasers killings,” Dothan Eagle, December 22, 2016; “Valeska shows jury crime scene photos in capital murder trial,” www.wtvy.com, December 7, 2016.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Tracey Grissom CONVICTED
Date: May 15, 2012
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On May 15, 2012, concealed handgun permit holder Tracey Grissom, 30, allegedly shot and killed her ex-husband Hunter Daniel Grissom, 28, as he stood next to his vehicle at the Binion Creek boat landing. Tracey Grissom told investigators that she pulled into the parking lot to take a picture for use in a pending lawsuit and her ex-husband saw her sitting in her car. According to Tracey “he gave her a mean look and an obscene gesture.” She told investigators that she exited her vehicle and “shot him until the gun was empty.” Deputies found Hunter Grissom lying face down next to his vehicle. According to the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff, there has been previous domestic violence cases involving the couple. Grissom was arrested and charged with murder.
UPDATE: On August 7, 2014, Tracey Grissom was found guilty of murder in the death of her ex-husband. On September 2, 2014, Grissom was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Source: “Tracey Grissom sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing her ex-husband,” myfoxal.com, September 2, 2014; “Tracey Grissom convicted of murdering allegedly abusive ex-husband; prosecutors said she wanted $103,000 in insurance,” al.com, August 7, 2014; “Updated: Woman charged with murder in ex-husband’s shooting death at Lake Tuscaloosa boat landing,” al.com, May 15, 2012.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Bart Johnson CONVICTED
Date: December 3, 2009
People Killed: 1
Law Enforcement Officers Killed: 1
Circumstances: On December 3, 2009, Bart Johnson shot and killed Pelham, Alabama, police officer Philip Davis during a routine traffic stop. Officer Davis had stopped Johnson for speeding. According to videotape from the officer’s patrol car, Davis and Johnson spoke briefly, and Davis then went to write Johnson a ticket. Upon his return, Johnson told Davis that his brother was a police officer. Officer Davis replied, “Why didn’t you tell me that before? Let me have his name and number so I can tell him what happened.” Then, “unprovoked and without a word, Johnson fired one shot, striking Davis in the face.” Johnson fled the scene, abandoned his Acura, and attempted to break into another vehicle. When he was noticed by someone, Johnson displayed his gun and waved the person away. He was later picked up by his brother and surrendered to authorities. A local pharmacist, Johnson obtained a concealed weapons permit in 2007 and renewed it in 2008 and 2009. He is charged with capital murder.
UPDATE: On May 12, 2011, Bart Johnson was found guilty of capital murder in the death of Officer Davis. He was convicted on two counts, one for the murder of an off duty police officer and one for causing death by shooting into an occupied vehicle. On June 16, 2011, Johnson was sentenced to death by lethal injection.
Source: “Bart Johnson sentenced to death,” shelbycountyreporter.com, June 16, 2011; “Bart Johnson guilty, jury recommends death,” www.myfoxal.com, May 12, 2011; “Pharmacist charged in officer’s killing had permit for weapon,” The Birmingham News, December 8, 2009; “Pelham police officer’s slaying baffles investigators,” The Birmingham News, December 5, 2009.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Laquintta Turk CONVICTED
Date: July 23, 2009
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On July 23, 2009, concealed handgun permit holder Laquintta Turk, 23, shot and killed Rosetia Smith, 24, in a parking lot. The shooting occurred during a confrontation involving two other women—Tiffany Allen and Lashan Catlin, both 23— over the fact that Allen’s sister had had a baby with Catlin’s ex-high school boyfriend. Turk, Catlin, and two other women were waiting in a car in a parking lot to confront Allen in a pre-arranged meeting. Allen eventually arrived in a car driven by Smith containing Smith’s three children (all under age six) and her boyfriend Cameron Marshall. Smith then “profanely told the women to get out of their car” according to testimony. Lashan Catlin then got out of Turk’s car and slapped Smith through her car window. Marshall testified that he then saw Laquintta Turk’s gun go off and that he tried to drive away, steering from the passenger seat. Turk’s shot struck and killed Rosetia Smith, with the bullet that killed her landing at the foot of her oldest child. Turk testified that she fired only after seeing Marshall reach under his seat, although no gun was found in the car. During the trial, Prosecutor Mike Philpott told jurors, “This is a case about a woman who brought a gun to a fist fight, and the tragedy that resulted.” Laquintta Turk was convicted of reckless murder and faces up to life in prison.
Source: “Laquintta Turk guilty of reckless murder of Rosetia Smith,” al.com, August 12, 2010.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Michael McLendon SUICIDE
Date: March 10, 2009
People Killed: 11 (including shooter)
Circumstances: On March 10, 2009, Michael McLendon, a self-proclaimed survivalist, killed his mother at their family home, beginning a shooting rampage that stretched across 24 miles. By the time McLendon took his own life in the midst of a police shootout at a factory where he had previously worked, he had shot four more relatives, including his 74-year-old grandmother, and five strangers, including the wife and 18-month-old daughter of a local sheriff’s deputy. McLendon had a concealed handgun permit for two handguns. Police later found at the home he shared with his mother numerous how-to DVDs on committing acts of violence.
Source: “Officials: Alabama shooter depressed over failures,” Associated Press at philstar.com, March 13, 2009.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Kathy Lowe CONVICTED
Date: November 11, 2008
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On November 11, 2008, concealed handgun permit holder Kathy Lowe shot and killed her husband, David Lowe, in the backyard of the couple’s home. Lowe claimed the shooting was in self-defense. L owe told investigators that her husband, a retired District Attorney Sheriff’s investigator, was ill and not expected to live beyond a year and that his temper had worsened as his health deteriorated. During an interrogation the night of the shooting, Lowe told investigators that when her husband had complained of feeling ill that night she had joked, “Are you wanting me to shoot you, David?” Her husband then picked up one of the 20 guns the couple kept in their home and followed her around the house, threatening to kill her, and not allowing her to leave. According to Lowe, her husband was a “hunter and collector” who “always made sure a gun was in reach in every room of the house.” Kathy Lowe then got a gun of her own and eventually went out to the couple’s backyard. David Lowe followed her outside and according to Kathy Lowe started yelling and prepared to shoot her. She shot him once in the arm and then “blindly” shot him twice more, killing him. During the trial, prosecutors argued that Lowe had planned to kill her husband. In support, they cited: discrepancies in her version of events as told to law enforcement; evidence of a boyfriend; three life insurance polices on David Lowe, one taken out a month before his death; her recent procurement of the concealed handgun permit; the recent signing by David Lowe of a long-drafted do-not resuscitate order; and, the fact that she had made phone calls the night of the killing, but never called 911. In August 2010, a mistrial was declared in Lowe’s trial. A new date is being set for her retrial.
UPDATE: In March 2012, Kathy Lowe pled guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to three years of probation in the shooting of her husband David Lowe.
Source: “Kathy Lowe pleads guilty to manslaughter, receives probation in shooting death of husband,” al.com, March 19, 2012; “Mistrial declared in Kathy Lowe trial,” The Sand Mountain Reporter, August 3, 2010; “Lowe relives moment the gun went off,” The Sand Mountain Reporter, August 3, 2010; “Marshall County Jury Deliberates Murder Case,” whnt.com, August 2, 2010; “Prosecutor: Insurance, lover led to death,” The Sand Mountain Reporter, July 29, 2010; “Marshall County Woman Faces Jury for Killing Husband,” whnt.com, July 28, 2010.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Jeffery Tyrone Riggs CONVICTED
Date: January 10, 2008
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On January 10, 2008, concealed handgun permit holder Jeffery Tyrone Riggs, allegedly shot and killed his estranged girlfriend Norber Payne, 40, after she had ended their seven-year relationship. Riggs’ attorney claims that Riggs acted in self defense, that he did not intend to kill Payne but shot her when he saw the black handle of a knife or fork in her hand in a dark hallway. The prosecution said that Riggs kicked in Payne’s door, ran down the hall and “assassinated” her in her bed by shooting her four times with a 50 caliber Desert Eagle pistol before running away. After the shooting, Riggs called sheriff’s dispatchers saying, “This is Jeffery Riggs. I just shot my baby mama. You can come and get me.” Riggs had renewed his concealed carry permit annually for 15 years. In 2010 Riggs was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. In May 2013, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Riggs’ death sentence and conviction because the trial judge did not accurately charge the jury, causing Riggs to be convicted of capital murder rather than manslaughter. Riggs’ new trial on capital murder charges began in January 2015.
UPDATE: On February 4, 2015, Jeffery Tyrone Riggs was found guilty of capital murder in the death of Norber Payne. On April 20, 2015, Riggs was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Source: “Man won’t return to Alabama death row for killing his estranged girlfriend, who was also his cousin,” al.com, April 20, 2015; “Re-trial underway for Alabama Death Row inmate convicted of shooting woman 4 times,” al.com, January 28, 2015.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Joshua Noel Jones CONVICTED
Date: January 8, 2008
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On January 8, 2008, concealed handgun permit holder Joshua Noel Jones, 22, shot and killed 15-year-old Daniel Wayne “Danny” McKinnon. According to news reports, the two were traveling in a Chevrolet Z71 pick-up truck with two other friends—Alicia Algier, 23, and Justin Whiddon—after having visited a Wal-Mart and getting breakfast at a Waffle House restaurant. According to news reports, the three males were apparently “dry-firing” (pulling a gun’s trigger presumably without a bullet in the chamber) handguns at one another in the truck when Jones shot McKinnon with his 40 caliber handgun. When Algier was asked why she didn’t do anything to stop the males from dry-firing their guns, she stated, “It concerned me. They’re guys, I been told
they do it all the time, dry firing their guns.” Whiddon also dry-fired a .22 handgun—owned by Algier—at Jones. In court, Algier stated, “I keep it for safety because I’m a woman.” Police retrieved three handguns and four rifles from the truck after the shooting. After allegedly shooting McKinnon, Jones did not give police an official statement, instead asking for an attorney. According to police he did, however, state that the handgun went off accidentally. Jones was charged with manslaughter and was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Source: “Judge finds probably cause for manslaughter case in teen shooting,” The Dothan Eagle, February 2, 2008; “Top 10 of 2008: #10: Gun accidents claim lives of two Wiregrass teens,” The Dothan Eagle, December 21, 2008.