Local News

Story published: 09-25-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Mother, daughter shooting looks like murder/suicide

By Paula Walter

At approximately 10:05 pm Saturday, September 21st, 2013, deputies from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department were called out to investigate a shooting on McEwen Road in the Forge Creek area of the county. The incident ended with two people dead and one person hospitalized.

According to Sheriff Mike Reece, deputies responded to a call received by Johnson County’s 911 dispatchers with regard to a shooting. Upon arriving at the scene, they discovered Terry Mark Johnson had been shot in the hand and the stomach. Johnson had made his way from his home where the incident occurred to a neighbor’s home seeking help. The shooter, still inside the home, fired upon the deputies and the ambulance that was carrying Johnson to the hospital. Officer Adam Guinn was pinned down as he took fire from the shooter, identified by the sheriff as Heather Finley Buchanan. Buchanan and Johnson were living together at the residence on McEwen Road.

According to Sheriff Reece, a smoke grenade was thrown into the residence as officers approached and discovered Buchanan had fled into the woods. They were later informed she had her six-year-old daughter, Alexis Renea Buchanan, with her. Alexis’ father is Mark Buchanan, who is currently serving time in a Raleigh, North Carolina prison for felony breaking and entering. “We didn’t know the child was with her until 2:00 am Sunday morning,” said Reece. Helicopters equipped with an infrared system searched the wooded area for Buchanan and her daughter but had to cease as a heavy fog moved in. “We couldn’t send officers into the woods,” said Reece. “We knew she had guns.”

Officers were called back to the area Sunday morning when two bodies were discovered next to each other in an area not far from the home Johnson and Buchanan shared. They were identified as Heather Finley Buchanan and Alexis Renea Buchanan. Both bodies have been sent to Quillen College of Medicine for autopsies. At this time, it is believed Buchanan and Alexis died at approximately 6:30 am to 7:00 am Sunday morning. According to Reece, preliminary reports should be back in approximately one week but he says it appears Heather Finley Buchanan took her daughter’s life and then killed herself. Final autopsy reports can take up to six months. Two guns were found at the scene. Johnson is expected to recover. At this time, the motive for the shootings is not known.

The death of Alexis has taken a toll on all of the officers involved. Many are parents themselves. “The death of a child, that’s something you’ll never forget,” said Reece.