Three people, including an 11-year-old girl, are dead after a Friday morning shooting near Columbia in Maury County, Sheriff Bucky Rowland said. An adult man and woman are among those killed.
Rowland said the shooting call came in around 6 a.m. Friday at the 2100 block of Double Branch Road. Rowland named Nathanial Pipkin as the suspect, who fled and was later arrested in Monteagle in Marion County.
“The call was about family members who started shooting at occupants in the home,” Rowland said at a 1 p.m. news conference Friday afternoon.
Rowland said Pipkin’s mother was among those killed, and Pipkin was also related to the other two victims. Five family members were home during the shooting. One family member escaped through a window, running to a neighbor’s house to call 911, Rowland said.
“My heart breaks for a family that’s been destroyed today,” Rowland said in an afternoon news briefing.
Later in the afternoon, Spring Hill’s Battle Creek Middle School sent a statement to parents, offering counseling for children grieving over the loss.
“There has been a heartbreaking incident in the surrounding community that impacted our school family today,” said Mike Kinnard, the school’s principal in a message to students and parents.
Kinnard said grief and support counseling services will be available at the Battle Creek Middle School library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday and after students return from a week-long spring break, which begins Monday.
Pipkin was taken into custody without incident around 9 a.m. in Monteagle nearly 100 miles away by local police and Tennessee Highway Patrol. Monteagle police were able to identify his car, a silver Mustang, by confirming the license plate, leading to a traffic stop, Rowland said. At the time, Pipkin was wearing ballistic body armor and multiple firearms were in plain view.
Pipkin, whose age officials have not released, is currently detained at the Maury County Sheriff’s Department.
Neighbor: ‘Nothing like this ever happens here’
The Maury County Sheriff’s Department blocked off Double Branch Road until 1 p.m. Friday and continued to investigate the home where the shooting happened in an unincorporated area in Maury County north of Columbia, off Highway 31, near the Spring Hill city limits.
Rowland said the 911 call came in at 5:54 a.m., and county deputies were on the scene by 6:05 a.m.
“Deputies made entry and immediately discovered multiple victims deceased from apparent gunshot wounds,” Rowland said.
Multiple state and local agencies responded to the incident. The crime scene is being investigated and a forensics team was on hand Friday. Pipkin had previously been arrested in March 2021 and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, according to Rowland.
Mark Phelps, a resident of Double Branch Road since 1993, said the street is usually very quiet. The pastoral winding road is home to residents with large green pastures, horses, cattle and bales of hay.
“Nothing like this ever happens here,” Phelps said. “The only thing we ever see is an occasional wreck at the intersection of Double Branch and Sam Johnson Road.”
Phelps said he saw police lights early this morning as he was getting ready for a dentist appointment.
“We had no idea what happened,” he said. “We thought it might’ve been a wreck.”
Sheriff reflects on 2018 murder-suicide that left 5 dead
On Oct. 15, 2018, four teens were fatally shot inside their Columbia home. Their mother, Cynthia Collier, 55, died from self-inflicted gunshot wound, an autopsy conducted by Davidson County Senior Associate Medical Examiner David Zimmerman showed.
Her four children — Kaileigh Lin Collier, 17, Lia Lin Collier, 15, Bo Li Collier and Meigan Lin Collier, both 14 — also died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds, according to their respective autopsies.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had our fair share of tragedy,” Rowland said on Friday. “Please keep this family in your prayers.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.