Smyrna detectives are continuing their investigation into what sparked a shooting that left a 21-year-old man injured Sunday night at Hilltop-Rosenwald Park in Smyrna.
Police are trying to determine whether Cordarius Johnson, 22, acted in self-defense following an alleged robbery, according to Smyrna law enforcement officials.
“There are several conflicting stories from parties involved in this,” said Kevin Arnold, chief of the Smyrna Police Department, “and detectives are still investigating the case.”
Arnold said police received word just before 8 p.m. that a shooting had occurred in the area of Mason Tucker Drive and Sam Ridley Parkway.
As they were responding to the scene, officials with StoneCrest Medical Center informed Smyrna police that they were in the process of treating a gunshot victim, later identified as La Vergne resident Tazarius Leach.
Leach was later transported via Lifeflight to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for his injuries.
Johnson, who has a valid carry permit in the state of Tennessee, was not seriously injured in the shooting.
What police have been able to confirm is that Johnson, who lives in Smyrna, was sitting in his vehicle with his girlfriend at Hilltop-Rosenwald Park when two black male suspects allegedly tried to rob them.
“A crowd that was at the park began to move toward the vehicle, which caused the two suspects to flee to a white Ford Escort that was parked at the park,” Arnold said, adding Johnson told police that he left Hilltop-Rosenwald Park to go retrieve a handgun from his home.
He then reportedly left home and was driving toward Sam Ridley Parkway on Mason Tucker Drive when he pulled up next to the suspects in the Ford Escort.
“Johnson claims that someone in the vehicle began shooting at him and he returned fire from his handgun,” Arnold said. “He then later came to the Police Department to report that he had been involved in this situation.”
He said detectives have since collected evidence that suggests both parties exchanged gunfire during the incident, noting both vehicles sustained damage.
Authorities have not filed charges against either party involved in the shooting, pending the outcome of the investigation.