Cousin of alleged shooter says mental health played a role in Gallatin Park shooting

Local News

GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – The family of Quantez Parks is speaking out after Gallatin police say he randomly shot at four people in a nearby park.

The shooting sparked several questions surrounding a possible motive, but now his cousin says mental health may have played a role.

On Friday, police released dash camera video showing the moments just minutes after officers responded to a shooting at the end of the Lock 4 Park on Wednesday.

The area went from chaotic to confusing after two of the victims told police they were initially trying to help a distraught man.

“One rolled up on the bike and tried to stop him. That’s when my cousin shot him on the bike, and then another guy came in and tried to stop him and he shot him too,” said Melissa Mallory, who says she found out details surrounding the shooting from another family member.

Mallory says Parks was her cousin as she described the moment she received a phone call from Parks’ mother and then saw what happened on social media. She now lives in New York, but had lived in the Nashville area for 15 years. Now she remembers the last time she spoke to Parks – back on his birthday earlier this month. She says she had no idea Parks may have been struggling mentally.

“We talked and we laughed like nothing happened,” she said, describing the last conversation she had with Parks. “That’s what puzzles me the most, because I didn’t know and sometimes you [possibly] can hear it in the persons voice that something is going on with them; you can hear it in their voice and I just didn’t hear it in his voice.”

Gallatin police say Parks was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Mallory told News 2 she was close with her cousin. The two talked several times a week and she describes Parks as an energetic and loving man, who was working to obtain his degree from Middle Tennessee State University. The institution confirmed he was a junior, majoring in management. Parks was last enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester. In school and working hard, Mallory said this sudden act of violence came as a shock.

“It wasn’t registering in my head as of yet,” Mallory said. “He had issues I never knew about, unless he kept it hidden from me, and he probably hid it from me.”

Now she wonders if she missed a cry for help, believing her cousin was struggling mentally, saying, “I’m really not understanding why I didn’t see it, and why would he do something like that?”

She says the family is left with unanswered questions as to what may have led up to the shooting. Mallory says she wishes those close to him saw any warning signs and helped him before it was too late.

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