Skip to content

Reward offered on Reelfoot shooting

Reward offered on Reelfoot shooting

Posted: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 7:48 pm

  Crime Stoppers has joined the search for clues in a Saturday shooting incident near Walnut Log at Reelfoot Lake.

John Burnett, 44, of Paris, formerly of Union City, was struck by gunfire about 2 p.m. Saturday while he and three other individuals were walking into a forested area of Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge to check on a duck blind they were rebuilding.

Authorities said the unarmed Burnett was severely wounded by a round fired from a high-powered rifle that hit below his left elbow before entering his abdomen. He was airlifted to Regional Medical Center (The Med) in Memphis for treatment, which included several hours of surgery that required 30 units of blood, according to his family.

The shooting remains under investigation by the Obion County Sheriff’s Department, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Ten-nessee Wildlife Resources Agency, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation. The agencies had investigators at the lake early Sunday canvassing duck hunters for information.

“The shot definitely came from the woods,” Obion County Sheriff Jerry Vastbinder said Sunday. “The Tennessee section of the wildlife refuge had an open deer hunt that started Saturday. The federal portion was closed to deer hunting. Also, Saturday was opening day of the first duck season on the lake.”

Sheriff’s department Chief Deputy Kent Treece said today there is still no suspect in the shooting. He said investigators are continuing to receive tid


bits of information from individuals they spoke with over the weekend and are doing follow-up investigation.

“The investigation is still very much active,” Treece said. “We are still continuing to follow up on all information being received and still reaching out to anyone who may have seen or heard anything. No matter how insignificant it may seem to them, it may be critical to the investigation.”

Anyone who has any information that may be helpful in the investigation — no matter how trivial they think it may seem — is asked to call Crime Stoppers or one of the investigating agencies.

To provide information about this crime — featured as this week’s Crime of the Week — or other crimes, call Crime Stoppers at 885-TIPS (885-8477) or e-mail Crime Stoppers at Tips may be worth rewards up to $1,000, according to Union City Police Chief Joe Garner, coordinator of the local Crime Stoppers program.

Callers to Crime Stoppers are guaranteed anonymity.

On Monday, Burnett underwent four hours of surgery, during which his spleen was removed. He remains on a ventilator in the critical care unit at The Med in Memphis.

“His condition is improving,” his brother, Wynn Burnett of Union City, said this morning. “There’s still going to be more surgery on his arm, but he’s making progress.”
Published in The Messenger 11.18.08

Leave a Comment