Hunter witnessed Tennessee killings, official says; suspect still at large


OBION COUNTY, Tenn. (WREG) — A Tennessee man wanted in the killing of two duck hunters remained at large Tuesday evening as investigators talked to another hunter who witnessed the shooting.

David Vowell

David Vowell, 70, of Martin, is accused of killing 26-year-old Chance Black and 25-year-old Zachary Grooms at a duck blind at Reelfoot Lake on Monday morning. Details on what led to the shooting have not been released.

Obion County District Attorney Tommy Thomas confirmed that investigators are getting more information from a third hunter, who was in the same blind as the two victims and witnessed the shooting.

Thomas said a vehicle and boat belonging to Vowell have been recovered, but the suspect, who is considered armed and dangerous, is still being sought. Thomas would not comment on whether the shootings stemmed from a disagreement on the location of the hunting blinds. 

Black was the son of the chief deputy of the Weakley County Sheriff’s Department, county officials said.

Jackson Seales, a duck hunting guide at the northwest Tennessee lake, said he knew Black, who was a manager at Final Flight Outfitters, a sporting goods store in Union City, Tennessee.

“He was just a great. Never met a stranger, always had a smile on him,” Seales said. “Always, ‘Hey man, how’s the duck hunting today?’ Just a good all-around guy. I didn’t know the other boy as well, but Chance, I bought a gun off him this summer.”

Final Flight Outfitters released a statement: “What has taken place is hard to process. No duck is worth the life of a man. What we do know is that God is our refuge and strength, even in the hardest of times.”

Chance Black (courtesy Final Flight Outfitters)

A search for Vowell has been underway since Monday, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said.

A Nashville couple anticipating a day of eagle watching at Reelfoot said they were shocked to learn of the murders.

“We saw the helicopter and we thought, ‘Oh, we better get out of here,’” said Terry Solina.

Law enforcement vehicles searched the area around Reelfoot Lake for David Vowell on Tuesday.

Holly Clymer, who lives about a mile and a half from where the shootings happened, said she won’t rest until Vowell is found.

“Very concerned,” she said, “because he killed once and he might could kill again, you know.”

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