Two Knoxville men were arrested and charged with reckless endangerment after drive-by shootings were reported on Pennsylvania Avenue and West Outer Drive on Tuesday, authorities said.
Arrested were Alexander Tirado, 25, of Oak Park Drive in Knoxville, and Joshua Chase Payne, 23, of Wallace Road in Knoxville.
In arrest warrants, Oak Ridge Police Department officers reported two calls of shots fired on West Outer Drive and Pennsylvania Avenue near Pine Lane on Tuesday night.
There were at least three adults and two juveniles in the 300 block of West Outer Drive, in the “immediate vicinity and the general direction of the gunfire” there, the arrest warrants said. Five spent 9mm casings were recovered from the street, authorities said.
Witnesses said a gold sedan with an inoperable headlight driving west on West Outer Drive fired five to eight rounds from a semi-automatic handgun from the passenger window, the warrants said.
Oak Ridge police found a gold Saturn sedan with a headlight out, with a male driver and a female passenger, driving east on the same road, the warrants said.
“Witnesses still on the scene indicted the Saturn appeared to be the same vehicle from which the gunshots originated,” the warrants said.
ORPD Officer Matthew Johnston stopped the car at about 9:16 p.m. for a light law violation. Tirado was driving it, according to the warrants.
A probation officer authorized a search of the car. It turned up a loaded Glock 19 9mm handgun and a box of Winchester 9mm ammunition, the warrants said.
“A receipt located with the ammunition indicated that it was purchased 15 minutes before the shooting,” the warrants said.
“The defendant (Tirado), under Miranda, stated he fired the handgun out the window while the co-defendant drove on West Outer Drive,” authorities said.
Police also responded to a shots fired call in the area of Pennsylvania Avenue at Pine Lane on Tuesday.
ORPD Officer Karen Jenkins said she heard what sounded like four gun shots north of her location near Oak Ridge High School and North Tulane Avenue. She responded to Pennsylvania Avenue at Pine Lane and found four people standing on the sidewalk and in the street where on-street parking is between Poplar Road and Pine Lane.
Three witnesses standing in the parking lot of the Seventh Day Adventist Church reported a goldish/silver four-door vehicle drove north on Pennsylvania Avenue, and they said the people inside the car fired four rounds from a gun into the area and in the area of where the witnesses were standing, Jenkins reported in arrest warrants.
She learned later from Tirado and interviews with Johnston that Tirado was “one of the occupants of the vehicle on Pennsylvania Avenue and admitted to shooting a gun that was found in the vehicle in which the defendant was riding,” Jenkins said in the warrants.
Co-defendant Joshua Chase Payne also was “one of the occupants of the vehicle on Pennsylvania Avenue and admitted to shooting a gun that was found in the vehicle in which the defendant was riding,” Jenkins said. He admitted firing in the location where the witnesses were standing, the warrants said.
After being read his Miranda rights, Payne said he accompanied Tirado to Walmart, where the two purchased ammunition, the warrants said. Then, they drove to the home of an acquaintance via West Outer Drive.
Payne apparently initially denied any knowledge of a firearm, according to the warrants.
But, “the co-defendant confessed, under Miranda, to firing the gun from the vehicle while the defendant drove,” the warrants said.
There were no reports of injuries. The warrants don’t give a motive for the shootings.
Tirado was charged with reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, reckless endangerment, and unlawful possession of a weapon.
Payne has been charged with reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon and reckless endangerment.
Both remained jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Wednesday afternoon.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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