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By Josh Peterson, editor
Brenda Bartee, who has been charged with attempted first-degree murder after allegedly firing seven rounds from a .40-caliber pistol at her estranged husband Wednesday afternoon in downtown Manchester, has a history of domestic violence charges.
According to authorities, in recent months Bartee has faced charges of domestic violence and misuse of 911 in Coffee County in addition to charges of aggravated assault in Mississippi. Dates and details of those charges are currently unclear.
Bartee is in the Coffee County Jail after she allegedly shot her estranged husband, Dr. Harry Bartee, in front of the law office of Rogers, Duncan and North following divorce mediation Wednesday.
“It appears to have been a serious domestic issue,” said Manchester Police Department Assistant Chief Adam Floied. “They had been meeting with attorneys at [Rogers, Duncan and North] about a divorce. The mediation broke down and Mrs. Bartee left the office and went outside and got the pistol. When the man left the law office, the woman fired seven shots with four of them striking him.”
Harry Bartee was transported from the scene by ambulance to Medical Center of Manchester where he was flown by helicopter to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga. He was listed in critical condition Thursday afternoon.
Brenda Bartee was witnessed standing near Harry Bartee with a gun. She was subdued by Bedford County deputies – who happened to be in the area shopping at Toliver’s Pawn and Jewelry – before local authorities could arrive to place her into custody.
Brenda Bartee’s bond was originally set at $1 million but it was lowered Thursday by Coffee County General Sessions Court Judge Jere Ledsinger. She is scheduled to make another appearance in General Sessions Court Tuesday, Dec. 9 before Judge Tim Brock.
At the crime scene Wednesday, Manchester resident and Toliver’s Pawn and Jewelry Shop employee Bryson Simerly was one of the first people on the scene and administered first aid to Harry Bartee. Simerly said he heard “at least six shots.”
“I was in the shop at [Toliver's] and I heard gunshots. It was quite evident,” explained Simerly. “We ran outside and seen a guy laying down and a woman pointing a gun. We yelled at her a couple of times. There were a couple of sheriff’s deputies from Bedford County and they came running up and defused the situation
“We made sure it was safe and we entered to do first aid. The [deputies] had the gun taken care of. From there just administered first aid until authorities arrived.”
Simerly is a certified lifeguard with some first-aid training.
“First thing I did was assess the situation and made sure everything was defused and [safe],” explained Simerly. “Then I started checking for wounds. We had to see how many there were. I saw three – one in each hip and one in his upper right torso. I just applied pressure with the little juvenile first-aid kit that I had.”
According to records with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Bartee was issued a permit to carry a handgun Oct. 7, 2010. Her carry permit was set to expire next year.
Read more in next week’s (Dec. 11) print edition of the Mancheter Times. Click here to subscribe to the print and/or online edition of the paper.