The GBI is investigating reports that the woman who made a false 911 emergency call that led to a deputy fatally shooting a Rossville man inside his house suffers from dementia.

In an article last week in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Steven Gass claims his mother Dorothy Gass suffers from dementia.

She is 65 years old.

Greg Ramey, special agent in charge at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Calhoun office, says the GBI is investigating Steven's claim.

Ramey said Steven, while being interviewed after the incident, did tell investigators that his mother suffers from dementia.

Steven also said in the article that sometime last summer, Dorothy was lost in Fort Oglethorpe for about six hours until a police officer located her at Food City. The Fort Oglethorpe Police Department said last week that there are no reports filed concerning Dorothy Gass.

In the early morning hours of New Year's Day, Dorothy Gass called 911 saying that a woman at a residence at 147 Meadowview Lane in Rossville was threatening to kill herself and her children.

Three deputies arrived and announced several times that they were from the Walker County Sheriff’s Department, authorities said.

Sixty-five-year-old Mark Parkinson was spotted in the kitchen carrying a handgun. Parkinson pointed the weapon at Deputy John Chandler, who then fired several shots, killing Parkinson, authorities said.

Ramey confirmed that the three deputies did not activate their patrol vehicle lights when they arrived on the scene or as they were parked outside the residence. This is normal procedure in such situations, Ramey said. If someone inside a residence is threatening suicide, law enforcement do not activate the lights because they can then become targets themselves, he said.

Steven Gass is Parkinson's son-in-law. Steven and his wife Amy are separated while Amy seeks a divorce. Amy and the couple's two children were in the Parkinson house the night of the shooting.

Larry Stagg, a Ringgold attorney who is representing Amy in the divorce proceedings, said Tuesday, "Dementia (with her mother-in-law) was not an issue to our knowledge."

In the same Times Free Press article, Steven said that while he knows his mother believes what she reported, he himself knows his estranged wife would never threaten to kill herself and their children. In the article Steven calls her "a great mother."

Stagg said he finds this "suspicious" because on Tuesday, Jan. 2, one day after the shooting, Steven sought to have a temporary protective order placed on his wife.

"Why was he going to try to get a protective order on her if (he thought) she was such a great mother?" Stagg said. "It's suspicious to me."

Stagg said he believes Steven is now backpedaling from his attempt to get a TPO.

"All of a sudden, he does a 180," Stagg said. "If he didn't believe his mother, why did he try to get a temporary protective order?"

Stagg said a TPO, if granted, would give Steven temporary custody of the children. The judge denied the TPO.

FOI requests denied

The county , the sheriff's department and the GBI have denied the Walker County Messenger's Freedom of Information requests, including a request for the audio and/or a transcript of the Emergency 911 tape from that night. The officials denied the requests on the grounds that the incident is still under investigation.

Ramey said it typically takes 30 days to investigate these type cases. Once the investigation is complete, the case is turned over to District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin. Franklin will hear the evidence and deputy testimonies. From there, the DA will then began a civil grand jury trial. From there, he will decide if the case will become a criminal trial.

Josh O'Bryant is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He can be reached at the Walker County Messenger office at 706-638-1859 and by email at