Tennessee Legislator Commits Suicide

Funeral Services To Be Held Sunday

Friday, June 21, 2002

The funeral service for Tennessee State Rep. Keith Westmoreland will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. in Kingsport.

Kingsport police say the 55-year old Republican State Representative, who was facing several charges of indecent exposure, committed suicide Wednesday evening.

At 8:25 p.m., Kingsport Central Dispatch received a call from family members reporting that they had found Rep. Westmoreland wounded at his house at 3216 Kenridge Street in Kingsport.

Police officers and paramedics arrived on the scene to find Rep. Westmoreland in his bathroom. He was dead of a gunshot wound to the chest.

The preliminary investigation indicates the wound was self-inflicted.

Police say there was a note left for the family, but the contents of it are not being released.

Rep. Westmoreland was late for a dinner engagement at his brother's house in Kingsport Wednesday night, so his brother and sons came to his house looking for him. It was then that they found Westmoreland deceased.

The lawmaker was in Nashville earlier on Wednesday as the legislature was set to debate the budget.

Rep. Westmoreland was arrested last week in Sandestin, Florida, and charged with seven counts of indecent exposure for allegedly exposing himself to several teenagers at a hotel pool. Earlier on Wednesday reports surfaced that Nashville police had heard similar accusations against him in the past.

Westmoreland did not address any of the charges while attending the legislative session in Nashville earlier in the day on Wednesday.

On Thursday, a somber House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh described Rep. Westmoreland as a "hard-working, conscientious legislator."

Rep. Westmoreland is survived by his wife and two sons.


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