Owner Of Kennedy Jewelers: "I Came Out Firing"; Assault Rifle Was Tossed By Elementary School; Robber's Pants Dropped And Underwear Used As Evidence

Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Diontre Danforth and Gerald Dewayne Jackson
Diontre Danforth and Gerald Dewayne Jackson

The owner of Kennedy Jewelers on East Main Street testified Tuesday that after he spotted a 6'6" masked man armed with an assault rifle in his store he loaded his pistol and took on the robber and his accomplice.

Shane Kennedy said he first aimed at the pair with his revolver and pulled the trigger, but found the gun was empty. He said he ducked behind his office door, loaded the weapon, then, "I came out firing."

The pair fled the store after the Aug. 6 holdup without getting any loot. They were soon apprehended.

It was also testified in General Sessions Court that the assault rifle was tossed out of the getaway car beside an elementary school.

Also, Detective Kendon Massengale said during the robbery the accomplice's shorts fell around his knees and his blue boxer shorts were caught on video. He said when the suspect was caught, he was wearing blue boxer shorts.

Judge Christie Sell bound charges against Gerald Dewayne Jackson, 24, of 420 S. Seminole Dr., and Diontre Danforth, 18, of 1010 N. Larchmont Ave. to the Grand Jury. Jackson is charged with aggravated robbery, reckless endangerment, attempted first-degree murder and criminal conspiracy. Danforth is charged with aggravated robbery and criminal conspiracy to commit robbery.

Prosecutor Rodney Strong said Jackson should have also been charged for attempted first-degree murder against a customer and four other employees in the store. Judge Sell agreed. The prosecutor said the charges will be added at the Grand Jury level.

Judge Sell said, "It was amazing that only one person was hit and that no one is dead, and it is very fortunate that an elementary child did not pick up an assault rifle."

Mr. Kennedy said he was sitting in his office getting ready to close for the day when he heard two shots ring out. He said he reached in his desk for his pistol, opened the door, and saw the two robbers. He said it was then he tried to shoot.

He said he heard the accomplice (identified as Danforth) say, "He's got a gun. He's got a gun."

He said when the gun did not go off, he ducked behind his office door. He said the tall gunman (identified as Jackson) fired a shot toward him and some of the fragments struck him. He later was driven to the hospital to be checked out.

The store owner said he loaded the gun while behind the door, then went back out to confront the robbers. He fired several shots, causing the pair to retreat. The gunman with the assault rifle fired several shots from the hip as he ran off. Two of the shots went into the side of a customer's car.

Shane Kennedy said his brother was in another office, and he also was armed with a handgun.

A customer who was in the store to pawn some jewelry said he heard a commotion behind him and he hit the floor after a shot rang out. He said at one point he peeked up and saw the owner brandishing his weapon.

Detective Massengale said the accomplice was carrying a laundry basket and a pillow case. He was wearing a black hoodie and a black shirt.  He left the laundry basket behind.

He said the pair split, with the gunman getting into a car and the accomplice running down Mulberry Street. Police who converged on the area located Danforth sitting on a nearby porch. Neighbors said he jumped a fence and ran through yards until stopping on the porch.

The black hoodie, black shirt and pillow case were found nearby.

Detective Massengale said Jackson was a suspect in a home invasion in which the same car was used. The car was stopped by police the day after the Kennedy Jewelers holdup. A search was made of the Seminole Drive residence and ammunition for the Saiga assault rifle was found in a garage.

He said a cell phone was recovered that showed Jackson posing with the Saiga assault rifle.

The jewelry store has video inside and out, and the robbery was captured on several videos with audio. As they entered, the gunman was heard saying, "C'mon. Get it."       

Jackson was arrested for carjacking, kidnapping and aggravated robbery in 2010, but the charges were all dismissed.

He got a three-year suspended sentence on a 2008 burglary.

Shane Kennedy testifies
Shane Kennedy testifies

Harrison Man Charged In Sullivan County Drug Thefts

A Harrison man has been indicted by a Grand Jury in Sullivan County on 61 counts of narcotics by fraud and theft charges. The Kingsport Police Department said Michael Todd Burkhart, 48, of Bayshore Drive, was a former nurse at Kingsport. He was charged in connection with missing medication from the Cath Lab of a Kingsport hospital. Police said in September 2013, the pharmacy ... (click for more)

Tennessee State Trooper Arrests Clarksville Man On Drug Charges In Marion County

A Tennessee state trooper initiated a traffic stop on Tuesday that resulted in the drug arrest of a Clarksville man in Marion County. Trooper George Stephens stopped a 2009 Nissan Sentra after observing the vehicle was following too closely on Interstate 24 westbound near the 153 mile marker at approximately 8 a.m. on Tuesday. Upon initial contact, the trooper noticed ... (click for more)

Shelley Andrews Will Be Missed

Shelley Andrews was one of the kindest, most thoughtful and most effective laborers in our community.  Her work with the Friends of Moccasin Bend was exemplary.  She listened, she learned and she led with dignity and class. Her brave battle with ovarian cancer was a testament to her positive spirit and commitment to her work on behalf of the people of this region. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: He’s Exempt From Drunk

I love the old story about a popular Senator who, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, was asked late one evening, “Sir, what if we get bombed?” to which came the quick reply, “I’d be absolutely delighted … I can get one of my aides to drive us home afterwards.” You think of stuff like that when word comes from Kentucky that state legislator Brandon Smith was caught driving erratically ... (click for more)

UTC Softball Team Prepares for 2015 Season

It’s nine days to the season opener – Plainsman Invite (Auburn, Ala.) – and the UTC Indoor Softball Facility at Warner Park was alive with the sounds of batting and infield practice Wednesday afternoon as the 20 Lady Moc players plus coaches were on hand for 2015 Media Day. Located in their familiar spot as pre-season Southern Conference favorites, UTC returns a strong ... (click for more)

CFC Begins Tryouts Saturday

Chattanooga Football Club is excited to announce their first tryout for this next summer season. This Saturday marks the beginning of the 2015 campaign for a National Title.   “Last season was amazing- highlighted with CFC hosting a crowd of over 9,000 at Finley stadium and then playing for the National Title in New York’s Red Bull Stadium,” said General Manager Sean ... (click for more)