A man was shot Tuesday morning while fishing on Harvest Farms Lake, wounded by a resident who reportedly was angry because he felt the victim was fishing on his part of the lake.
The victim, Ken Murray, was airlifted from near the scene of the shooting to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga for treatment of gunshot wounds to his midsection, shoulder and arm. The shots are believed to be from buckshot fired from a shotgun wielded by Floyd Kirby from the bank of the lake located off Tom Grissom Road.
According to sheriff’s investigator Bo Ramsey, the shooting happened around 11:30 a.m. on Harvest Farms Lake as Murray and friend Stan Owenby were fishing in a small boat.
Murray’s home is nearby, a few doors down from Kirby, with fellow lake property owners pointing out all those who own property on the lake have fishing and boating rights to the lake.
It was while fishing near Kirby’s property that the men say Kirby came out and began yelling threats, telling them they could not fish there. The suspect then allegedly opened fire with a 22-caliber gun before upgrading to a shotgun. Authorities believe at least six shots, perhaps more, were fired by Kirby.
Meanwhile the men, after seeing the first volley, attempted to get their boat running and get away but the boat would not start.
“Wouldn’t you know the motor wouldn’t start when you’re in the middle of a gunfight,” Owenby told investigators following the shooing, pointing to numerous buckshot holes in the side of his boat.
The shotgun volley struck Murray with the shoulder shot knocking him out of the small boat.
Owenby was able to save his friend while pushing the boat away from the suspect on the bank, who was still taking aim at them.
“You shot stumpy,” Owenby exclaimed from the boat as Kirby continued shooting at them. “We’re trying to get out of here.”
Owenby was able to get the boat’s trolling motor going and the men were able to limp to a nearby dock where Murray was able to make his way up to the road to meet an ambulance which had been called.
Kirby was taken into custody at the scene and his firearms confiscated. While admitting to firing shots, Kirby has not admitted to intentionally firing on the men. However, some neighborhood residents say authorities have been called on Kirby in the past for threatening, and even shooting, in the direction of boaters.
“From what I understand, he has peppered the water at boaters before,” said one area resident, referring to Kirby allegedly firing warning shots at boaters who were on what he considered to be his part of the lake.
Investigators were still considering what charges to file against Kirby at press time as he remained held for questioning.