Photo by Sue WatsonEscorting Brandon Chambers back to jail after the bond hearing are Kelly McMillen, Perry Pipkin and Josh Mask, all with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department.
Photo by Kerry ReidSWAT team members from Marshall County search an area along Highway 72 on Tuesday of last week.
Suspect’s bond $1.5 million
Brandon Chambers, 28, the suspect who allegedly shot into two vehicles July 31, remains in jail with bond set at $1.5 million, according to sheriff Kenny Dickerson.
The sheriff recapped the results of an intense manhunt and investigation in an interview last week after Chambers made an initial appearance in justice court.
The call to 911 from the drivers of the two vehicles on Highway 72 at Slayden came in around noon July 31. When responding, Dickerson said his office received a call from a woman who had returned home for lunch to find her house broken into and a window shattered from the inside.
Investigators began an intense aerial and ground search at the location of the house on Highway 72. About six SWAT teams arrived to assist, with the DeSoto County SWAT team locating Chambers in a third house the suspect had entered during the chaotic crime spree.
He is believed to have taken a long-barrel .22 pistol from the first house after video evidence from a house across the highway showed him being dropped off from a vehicle.
A mailman was running his route and had stopped for lunch at the Slayden Travel Center. He then continued his mail delivery when a projectile struck his windshield, the steering wheel, and then the door on the passenger’s side. Dickerson said a preliminary investigation he made of the trajectory reveals the projectile could have come to within an inch of the mailman’s head. The projectile was recovered in the vehicle.
The mailman continued on his route and had pulled over into the transfer lane to turn back east on 72 when he saw a woman driving a car who seemed to be troubled.
“He could tell she was in distress,” the sheriff said
He stopped to assist her and the two called 911 to report the shootings.
The projectile hitting the lady’s car entered the hood, then passed through the windshield and into the passenger side of the vehicle.
Chambers, of Oakland, Tenn., was last seen walking back east on the north shoulder of the highway, he said.
He was in custody about 3 p.m. Approximately 75 agents came to assist with the search.
Dickerson said considering the nature of the suspect’s violence, it is very fortunate the owner of the first home returned just after the suspect had left the house.
The search keyed first on the first two houses and that portion of the search took the most time.
“He had a weapon of opportunity taken from the first house and the gun was later identified by owners,” the sheriff said. “We think he went into the first two houses, then to the highway, and then into the third house.
“After the shooting he went in and trashed the third house. Pretty much anything breakable, he broke it.”
In an initial appearance in justice court Wednesday, Aug. 1, judge Mae Garrison said Chambers, if convicted of two counts of attempted murder, could face life in prison. The three charges of burglary of a dwelling could bring 10 to 25 years, she said.
Maj. Kelly McMillen testified that the shots into the two vehicles took place in the 2900 block of Highway 72. Both vehicles were traveling in the westbound lane when struck by the projectiles.
“It could have been fatal to the mail carrier,” he said. “If there had been a passenger in the other car, it could have been fatal.”
The suspect said he had family in Mississippi and he was brought to that area of the highway and dropped off, McMillen said during the bond hearing. The suspect was released about three months ago by Shelby County, Tenn., authorities where he was serving on a charge of aggravated DUI, McMillen said.
When Garrison asked Chambers if he wanted to speak, he replied, “No, ma’am.”
After setting bond at $1.5 million, Garrison said the court believed Chambers would be a flight risk and also a danger if he were released.
A preliminary hearing for Chambers was held on Monday of this week.
Update: Warrant issued for suspect’s companion
Drawing on video evidence and other direct evidence, Dickerson issued a warrant Tuesday of this week for the arrest of Chambers’ companion the day of the incident.
“This guy didn’t walk down there,” the sheriff said.
A warrant for the arrest of Amanda Nicole Hostetler, 27, of Finger, Tenn., was issued, charging her at this time with one count of burglary of a dwelling, he said.