MOUNTAIN CITY — The Johnson County Sheriff’s Department has released more information into the suspected murder-suicide that killed 31-year-old Heather Buchanan and her daughter, 6-year-old Alexis Buchanan. A man, Terry Mark Johnson, was also shot in the abdomen and hand. He remains hospitalized and has not yet been interviewed by investigators.
Reece said the officers responded to 1235 McEwen Road in the Forge Creek Community on Saturday night after a call to 911 reported a man was shot. Reece said Johnson was able to get away from his residence and made it to a neighbor’s residence, where 911 was called.
Officers began to investigate the shooting, Reece said. They were walking toward the scene of the shooting in the dark. When the headlights from the ambulance transporting Johnson illuminated one of the officers, shots were fired at the officer and in the direction of the ambulance. The ambulance was able to get away from the scene.
A news report said the officer was pinned down, taking fire from Johnson’s suspected shooter. The officer said he saw a woman on the porch. The woman was later identified as Heather Buchanan. The officer was able to make the call to 911 for assistance. Other officers arrived and were able to get the pinned-down officer to safety.
Tactical teams were used to approach the residence. When they reached the scene, they discovered the woman had fled into the woods.
Neighbors confirmed that Buchanan had taken her 6-year-old daughter into the woods with her.
“We didn’t realize she had her daughter until we talked to the neighbor,” Reece said Sunday. “That’s when we called the helicopter.”
The Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter assisted in the search for Buchanan and her child. The helicopter had to end its support when fog moved into the area.
The sheriff’s department news release said “officers exhausted all available means of locating the suspect and the child.”
At 9 a.m. Sunday, officers were called back to McEwen Road, where two bodies had been discovered. The bodies were identified as Buchanan and her daughter.
Reece said two guns were found on the scene. One was a Smith and Wesson .38-caliber pistol, which was empty. The other was a western-style .22-caliber pistol, which held nine rounds. One round was left in the gun.
The .38-caliber had mud in the barrel, as if Heather Buchanan had fallen in the woods and the gun went into the dirt. Reece said it appears both the mother and daughter were shot with the .22-caliber. Reece suspects the .38-caliber was used in the shooting with his officer.
He said an officer arrived at 1235 McEwen Ranch Road at just after 10 on Saturday night with emergency medical services in response to a shooting.
Upon entering the house, officers learned the woman had escaped into the woods behind the house. After speaking with neighbors at around 2 a.m., officers learned the woman had her 6-year-old daughter, Alexis Buchanan, with her.
“We didn’t realize she had her daughter with her until we talked with the neighbor,” Reece said. “That’s when we called the helicopters in.”
He said officers and a Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter looked for the woman and her daughter for the next two hours, until just before 5 a.m., before fog made the search unsafe for the helicopter crew.
Reece said the sheriff’s department received a call at around 9 on Sunday morning that said the bodies of two females, Buchanan and her daughter, were found dead in a driveway near the residence.