By Josh Peterson, editor
An emergency room doctor at Harton Regional Medical Center has been airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga and a woman is in police custody after a shooting on the Manchester square Wednesday afternoon.
Dr. Harry Bartee, 47, of Tullahoma, was allegedly shot by his estranged wife Brenda Bartee in front of the law office of Rogers, Duncan and North at 100 N. Spring St. shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday. According to authorities, Brenda Bartee fired seven shots with a .40-caliber pistol and hit Harry Bartee “at least four times” after mediation for divorce proceedings.
Deputies from the Bedford County Sheriff’s Department happened to be in the area at the time of the shooting and quickly converged on the scene to take Brenda Bartee into custody and waited for local authorities. Harry Bartee was on the ground in obvious pain and was taken by ambulance to Medical Center of Manchester where he was flown by helicopter to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga. The public relations department at Erlanger said early Thursday afternoon that Harry Bartee remains in critical condition at the hospital.
Meanwhile, Brenda Bartee has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and is being held in the Coffee County Jail on $1 million bond.
“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.” ”
No one else was injured but the passenger side window of a sedan was shattered by an apparent bullet, according to Floied. No one was in the car.
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 Manchester Times.