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Competent for trial?
Bean hit in eye.jpg
Handcuffed and wearing jailhouse orange, Charles Bean was in court Tuesday to answer to charges he opened fire on two Warren County deputies. Behind him is his attorney Brett Knight.

A man who opened fire on two Warren County deputies last month – and lost his left eye in the gunfight – will undergo a mental health evaluation to determine his state of mind, according to his defense attorney.

Charles Ray Bean, 66, was in court Tuesday to answer to charges of attempted criminal homicide and aggravated assault.

His attorney, Brett Knight of Putnam County, says he has notified local prosecutors of his intent to have his client mentally evaluated.

“We need to find out why this issue occurred with a man who has no history of such issues,” said Knight in an interview with the Standard. “We want Mr. Bean to be evaluated on his competency and this is not a surprise to the DA’s office. Our suspicion is that something is going on to change a man who has not been in trouble. He’s not a drug user so we need some clear understanding about what’s happening with him mentally.”

Bean has been held at Warren County Jail since Nov. 23 after reportedly opening fire on two Warren County deputies near Newtown four days earlier.

Knight could have requested a preliminary hearing Tuesday to hear what evidence prosecutors have against his client. Instead, Bean waived his right to the hearing and the Warren County grand jury will determine if there is enough evidence against him to proceed with criminal charges.

Bean’s legal trouble began Nov. 19 when he reportedly called the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department to say he was going to burn his home in Overton County and then drive to Warren County to kill his son-in-law.

Authorities began to take the second threat seriously when they arrived at his Overton County property and found a building was in fact on fire. Warren County law enforcement was alerted along with a description of the vehicle Bean was believed to be driving. That vehicle was spotted in Newtown.

Bean pulled onto C Rody Road from New Nashville Highway, positioned his car across the roadway for cover, then got out and opened fire on two deputies who were following him. Their vehicles suffered heavy gunfire damage as Bean fired at least 23 shots based on evidence markers at the scene.

Bean suffered a serious wound to his face in the shootout and was in a Chattanooga hospital for four days. Knight said Bean no longer has use of his left eye after it was hit with shrapnel.

Neither officer was hurt. Knight praised the efforts of both officers in providing medical assistance to Bean when he was wounded.

“Those officers acted with extreme restraint and as soon as the situation was defused they began to render aid to him and quite possibly could have saved his life,” said Knight. “That’s something Mr. Bean has been very appreciate of, and his family has been very appreciative of, since the beginning.”