Violence against the homeless is not uncommon and neither is violence among the homeless.
According to McMinnville Police Department detective Sgt. Eddie Colwell, two homeless men became enthralled in a verbal argument Thursday that allegedly turned into a violent altercation.
The incident occurred in a homeless encampment located in a wooded area between Warren County Sheriff’s Department and the railroad tracks just off Highway 70.
“Homeless man Matthew May, 38, lives in the homeless community there,” said Colwell. “He lives there along with Robert Webster. Also, Tina Gilmore lives there. It’s just the three of them.”
Colwell says, according to reports from the parties involved, Gilmore, 41, and Webster, 47, are in a dating relationship and began to argue.
“They were verbally arguing for a lengthy amount of time,” said Colwell. “Mr. May got tired of hearing the two argue. He told Mr. Webster to stop. Webster became enraged and started throwing things. Mr. May says he felt it was time to put a stop to the situation, so he told Webster to stop and he needed to leave.”
Neither man left. A physical altercation then erupted.
“Per Mr. May’s statement, Mr. Webster began biting him and choking him so he pulled his pocket knife and stabbed him three times in the side,” said Colwell.
Webster had a completely different take on how the injuries occurred.
“Mr. Webster said he lives in the homeless community there and he went out to saw some firewood,” said Colwell. “He said he either slipped and cut himself with his ax, or a tree limb stuck him.”
An interview was conducted with Mr. Webster while he was at Ascension Saint Thomas River Park Hospital being treated for the injuries. He was later taken to Vanderbilt in Nashville.
“When I told Webster that he had been stabbed, he said that I was lying,” said Colwell. “When questioned again, he continued to tell me I was lying. Due to the statements made by Mr. May and the knife being recovered, it is apparent to me that a stabbing had occurred. The situation is still under investigation and charges are pending.”
The incident occurred Thursday at approximately 3:30 p.m.