WJTV News Channel 12 - Community mourns after an apparent murder-suicide

Community mourns after an apparent murder-suicide

Posted: Updated:
Heather Finley Buchanan (Source: Johnson County Sheriff's Office) Heather Finley Buchanan (Source: Johnson County Sheriff's Office)
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JOHNSON COUNTY, TN (WJHL-TV) -

Investigators are still working to figure out what sparked weekend gunfire that left two people, including a 6-year-old child dead.  The Johnson County Sheriff's Office calls the incident an apparent murder-suicide.

Officers responded to a report of a shooting late Saturday night at a home on McEwen Road in Mountain City.  They found 50-year-old Mark Johnson with gunshot wounds.  The Johnson County Sheriff's Office identified the shooter as Johnson's girlfriend, 31-year-old Heather Buchanan.  Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reese said Buchanan then fired a shot at an officer and ran into the woods with her 6-year-old daughter, Alexis.

After an overnight search on foot and by helicopter, Sheriff Reese said a neighbor discovered the child and her mother's bodies Sunday morning.  Both had gunshot wounds to the head.

Sheriff Reese told us investigators are reviewing evidence and are currently trying to determine the motive.  He says they plan on speaking with Mark Johnson to determine what lead to the shootings.  Sheriff Reese says Johnson is currently in stable condition at an area hospital.

Sheriff Reese also told us this was not Heather Buchanan's first encounter with law enforcement.

"She's been in and out of the facility here several times.  She's had other charges in other states.  Some drug related and other misdemeanor charges," said Sheriff Mike Reese.

Buchanan's previous charges include possession of drug paraphernalia, vandalism and probation violation.  Sheriff Reese told us officers have never been called to check on Buchanan for child neglect or abuse.

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Child Services told us in the past three years, they've made contact with Heather Buchanan two times.  The most recent was in March.  The department would not identify the reason.

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