On November 24, 2010 officers of the Johnson County Sheriffs Department received a report of a possible shooting incident. The information was received from North Carolina authorities who had received a call from a concerned citizen stating that her boyfriend had called her and stated that he had been kidnapped and shot, and that he was trying to make it to the hospital in Mountain City. A vehicle description was provided and officers made contact with the vehicle on Hwy 67 West at the Mountain City limits. Before officers could check the welfare of the driver, the vehicle crashed into a ditch, overturning. Immediately officers saw that the driver, Matthew R. Burleson, age 22, of Stanfield, NC, had a single gunshot wound to his right chest.
Sheriff Mike Reece along with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announces a close to the investigative phase of the shooting incident. Investigators have processed the evidence and followed leads based on initial statements made by Burleson. However, according to law officials, the physical evidence shows that the statement given to authorities by him could not be true. Late last Tuesday afternoon, investigators of the Johnson County Sheriffs Department sat down with Burleson and presented him with the physical evidence of the case, at which time he confirmed that he had made up the story.
Burleson said the gunshot wound was self-inflicted and he had fabricated the kidnapping story. He stated that he never wanted to kill himself but thought this was a way out of the stresses of school and life in general.
Burleson continues to be treated for his injuries suffered from the incident. Charges in this case are pending.