MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Murfreesboro man who made a quick stop at a grocery store to buy lunch before heading to work was confronted by another customer, who allegedly shouted racial slurs before pulling a gun on him right inside the store.
The victim, Jamie Cartwright, 40, told WKRN he was walking to a self-checkout lane at the Publix on New Salem Highway Wednesday afternoon.
“A man in front of me stopped me and asked why I was following him,” Cartwright said. “I told him I wasn’t following him and I was trying to check out.”
Shortly after, Cartwright said the man went on a tirade and pulled a pistol out of his pocket and said he would kill him, calling him an ethnic slur.
The victim said he put his hands up, backed away, dialed 911 and then alerted the store manager.
“It all flashed in front of me within two to three seconds. I think I did the right thing, you know, backing up and calling police,” Cartwright said, who said thoughts of his pregnant wife and daughter filled his mind as he stared down the barrel of the gun.
He continued, “I went from surprise to angry, that he did stop me and I guess to when he pulled the gun out on me, scared. One squeeze of a finger, you know what I mean, and it’s over.”
A Publix employee was able to following the suspect, and a man with him, to the parking lot and got a description of the vehicle they were driving and the tag number.
Later that same day, the parents of the alleged Publix suspect went to police headquarters and said their son was armed with a gun and was making suicidal statements at home.
The father told police his son became agitated, went and got a pistol, loaded the magazine and put it to his head and threatened to kill himself at their home.
According to the incident report, the man told his father he “would shoot the responding officers as many times until he himself would be shot.”
The suspect surrendered peacefully to the Special Operations Unit upon their arrival to the Cason Trail home.
He was taken to the hospital for a mental evaluation.
Police are investigating to see if the suspect’s intentions in the Publix incident were indeed motivated by race, or for some other reason.
Police said aggravated assault charges are pending against him.
Cartwright said he wants to see justice served.
“I feel like if you do the crime, you should do the time – that’s what I was taught,” he said.
Police also told News 2 a friend admitted to purchasing a pistol for the suspect from a local pawn shop since he couldn’t pass a background check.
Charges are also pending against the friend, according to police.