SMITH COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Thursday morning, Smith County authorities worked to locate a suspect they say is “armed and dangerous.” The day progressed into a widespread search, as deputies asked residents to lock their doors.
“I opened the front door, and I caught a man running beside my house, and I said, Hey!” said Sherry Fitzpatrick.
It was a frightening encounter for Fitzpatrick. She told News 2 that she was asleep in her bedroom when she heard someone in her downstairs garage. At first, she thought it may be her brother but quickly realized someone was trying to break into her home.
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Shortly after being woken up, Fitzpatrick came face to face with a wanted suspect, when she opened her front door.
“I was stuttering, and I was crying, and I don’t know, I guess I was just shocked when I opened the door and just saw him,” Fitzpatrick said, remembering the moment she spoke to the wanted suspect, “‘In your other pocket, sir,’ I said, ‘That’s a gun! You’ve got a gun!'”
Fitzpatrick said the suspect had broken into her car and stole the garage door opener. From there, he was able to find her husband’s gun.
“I was just so scared, I didn’t get scared until after I saw him take off running, and I was shaking.”
For hours, those living in the 300 block of Flatt Rock Road were on lockdown after Smith County authorities urged residents to be on the lookout as they searched for the man. The day began after the unknown man crashed his vehicle before breaking into the Fitzpatrick home, stealing a gun, and fleeing on foot.
“I talked to a couple of Sheriff’s who let me know that he was most definitely armed, he’s on foot, barefoot, and they are searching the surrounding areas to find him. They also let me know that I would hearing a helicopter within the next 15 to 20 minutes,” said Chelsea Robertini.
Robertini said she was woken up by sirens rushing past her home on Flatt Rock Road. After being alerted to be on the lookout for the armed suspect, she immediately thought of her children.
The suspect is described as a white man, last seen wearing a blue shirt and grey shorts. Anyone who sees him is urged not to approach him, and call 911.