Shooting In Coffee County

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Coffee County emergency personnel prepare Deputy Wade Bassett to be taken by air ambulance to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. He was later taken to Vanderbilt Medical Center. (WMSR photo by Barry West)
Scene outside the Coffee County Justice Center (WMSR photo by Barry West).
Intake photo of Michael Eugene Bell from the Coffee County Sheriffs Office.
Coffee County Juvenile Justice Center in neighboring Manchester, TN.

Our news partner in neighboring Manchester (WMSR) reports there was a shooting Monday (6/19/2017) afternoon involving two deputies and an inmate at the Coffee County Justice Center.

Reports indicate that 37-year old Michael Eugene Bell was in court for a scheduled hearing on charges of domestic related kidnapping, evading arrest and other charges.

As Deputy Wade Bassett was escorting Bell from the third floor courtroom to be transported back to the Coffee County Jail, the inmate wrestled with the deputy, got his gun and shot Deputy Bassett in the stomach.


Michael Eugene Bell then ran to the first floor to exit the building. According to Coffee County District Attorney General Craig Northcutt, Bell stopped and for no apparent reason shot Deputy Wendell Bowen.

Bell escaped from the Justice Center and a foot pursuit continued for a couple of blocks. Bell reportedly rushed into a home, and then exited into the back yard. It was there that he allegedly turned the gun on himself. Michael Eugene Bell was pronounced deceased at the scene.


The two deputies were flown by air ambulance to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Deputy Wade Bassett was later flown to Vanderbilt Medical Center for treatment of a bullet that reportedly was lodged in his spine. Deputies Bassett and Bowen are now both listed in stable condition.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has taken over this case. TBI has processed the crime scene in the Coffee County Justice Center as well as the home at 701 Madison Street in Manchester.

Read more from:
Coffee County, Manchester, Shooting, WGNS, WMSR
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