Suspect in gunfire incidents arrested

Tuesday, October 4, 2016
WENDELL BUCHANAN

A suspect in last week's shootings of church buildings and utility boxes was arrested over the weekend.

Wendell Buchanan, 36, of Sevier Street was arrested Saturday afternoon shortly after he was seen driving by Horse Mountain Church of Christ on Horse Mountain Road, which was hit on at least three separate occasions by gunfire.

"Several deputies were at the church talking with members," Detective Sgt. Scott Jones of the Bedford County Sheriff's Office said Saturday night. "We were given a good description of the suspect's car."

A man working nearby Saturday morning heard shots, ran toward the road and saw Buchanan's car, lowered with sport wheels, drive by, investigators said.

Spotted

"Wendell Buchanan drove by while they were there and Officer Tory Moore of the Shelbyville Police Department, who was patrolling in the area, stopped him on Highway 437 (the Shelbyville bypass)."

When asked if Buchanan had given a reason for his actions, Jones said Monday the investigation hadn't yet reached that point.

"We're still talking to him," Jones said. "This is a joint investigation between the city and county. We've worked together from the start."

Buchanan allegedly fired into two other churches -- Philippi Methodist Church and Singleton United Methodist Church -- the University of Tennessee Extension office and shot out several Charter Communications cable boxes during overnight hours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Charges

County investigators are charging Buchanan with nine counts of vandalism, five counts of desecration of a venerated object and four counts of destruction of utility fixtures.

Another vandalism charge was filed by city police for the UT Extension incident, which occurred inside Shelbyville.

Buchanan was being held on $500,000 bond at Bedford County Jail on Monday.