Father murdered by son in Tennessee

Around the South
James Thomas Smithson Jr. (Courtesy of the Williamson County Sheriff's Office via WKRN)

James Thomas Smithson Jr. (Courtesy of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office via WKRN)

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A son killed a father, and now investigators try and find answers as to why.

It happened Wednesday afternoon in the 1700 block of Cacye Springs Road in Thompson Station, Tennessee.

Investigators say James Thomas Smithson Jr. opened fire on his 72-year-old father, prompting a full-scale law enforcement response for the gunman who fled into the woods and was believed to be armed.

Thursday morning, investigators were back at the crime scene recovering more evidence.

A neighbor who heard two shotgun blasts is still shocked by the disturbing events in her quiet community.

The neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said “Just the saddest day. The saddest day ever.”

According to investigators, James Thomas Smithson Jr. shot his father, James Smithson Sr. and then fled into the woods.

Sources said he was armed with a shotgun, which prompted a full-scale SWAT response.

Within minutes, the neighborhood was flooded with SWAT, K-9, a helicopter, and dozens of armed officers.

The neighbor said, “I saw two sheriffs with massive guns. 
It was disconcerting and scary.”

According to investigators, the 36-year-old suspect was found hiding in his trailer, which was filthy and cluttered. The son surrendered without incident.

“And I didn’t know them, but it was just the saddest that life could just end like that,” the neighbor said.

The nearby resident says she heard the shots and watched the armed manhunt for hours.

“And I heard an intense rifle shot, it was enough to make me go, ‘Oh.’ And 30 seconds later, I heard another one and I knew instantly that something bad happened. It sounded like it was on our deck it was so loud. I just started bawling, I was scared, and eventually, they caught the man in the trailer and I asked the question directly, did he kill his daddy. That seemed like what happened and, in fact, it was.”

On Facebook, friends of the 72 year old victim said:

“He was a lovely man and they ran a daycare for a while there in Thompson Station. Such a terrible tragedy.

Another person wrote, “He was a wonderful person as was his precious wife Patricia…Prayers continuing for this family.”

Williamson County officials have yet to release a possible motive for the murder.

James Thomas Smithson Jr is in the Williamson County Jail under $500,000 bond.

He’s due in court July 11.

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