WJTV News Channel 12 - Person of interest arrested, victims named in TN shooting deaths

Person of interest arrested, victims named in Cumberland Co. shooting deaths

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Jacob Allen Bennett (source: Cumberland County Sheriff's Department via WATE) Jacob Allen Bennett (source: Cumberland County Sheriff's Department via WATE)
Four victims were discovered Thursday with fatal gunshot wounds on Cumberland Gardens Road. (Source:WATE) Four victims were discovered Thursday with fatal gunshot wounds on Cumberland Gardens Road. (Source:WATE)
(Source: WATE) (Source: WATE)
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CROSSVILLE, TN (WATE) - A person of interest was identified overnight in the shooting deaths of four people found in a vehicle in Cumberland County early Thursday morning.The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has also now identified the victims.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, Cumberland County and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officials said Rhea County authorities took Jacob Allen Bennett, 26, of Crab Orchard, into custody overnight for a parole violation. He was later transported to Cumberland County. He has not yet been formally charged. TBI Director Mark Gwyn said, " [we] believe that we have the person that committed these crimes."

The victims were identified as Danielle Jacobson, 22, Steven Presley, 17, Dominic Davis, 17, and John Lajeunesse, 16. Their bodies have been taken to the medical examiner's office for autopsy.

Cumberland County Director of Schools Donald Andrews says Davis was a student at Cumberland County High School, Presley was a graduate of Phoenix High School, and Lajeunesse was a former student of both Cumberland County High School and Stone Memorial High School who was being home schooled.

All three schools had grief counselors on hand Friday to offer support to students and staff.

"I know that this really affected a lot of the high school age kids," said Cumberland County Sheriff Butch Burgess. "I know there are lessons we can learn, whether we're parents, law enforcement or whoever. This is something that's traumatic and has never happened in our county before to this extent. But this is a wonderful county, and I think we can make something good come out of something so horrible."

A resident found the four victims with fatal gunshot wounds at Renegade Mountain in Cumberland County Thursday.

Cumberland County homicide investigators say they received a number of tips about the deaths.


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4 people found dead in car in Cumberland Co.

Four people were found dead in a vehicle early Thursday morning in Renegade Mountain in Cumberland County.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Kristin Helm says the victims were discovered in a blue car around 7:30 a.m. CDT on Cumberland Gardens Road with fatal gunshot wounds.

Cumberland County officials say they received a number of tips about the car from residents.

They are treating the deaths as homicides.

Cumberland County officials have asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to bring in a specialized crime lab from Nashville designed for unusual and difficult homicides.

Sheriff Butch Burgess says the county has never dealt with a case like this and immediately called the TBI.

"We owe it to the families to do the best job and bring everything to bare, and utilize every asset we have," said Sheriff Burgess.

Sheriff Burgess says it appears all the victims were shot at the same location where the bodies were found.

Officials have not yet identified the victims, but do say the victims are local, a mix of men and women, and include some "young people."

They also are unable to release a suspect description. They say they do not believe the public is in danger.

District Attorney General says the number of victims makes the incident unusual.

Renegade Mountain is a former resort community that has recently exited bankruptcy. It was formerly a ski resort, and then a golf course.

Only about a dozen residents live there presently, some who say they've been involved in an ongoing dispute with owners over paying for things like security.

Homeowners association president John Moore says the victims were found in an undeveloped area, but plans were underway to build housing nearby.

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