A Rossville couple was arrested on numerous charges after they admitted to shooting at their teenage son in order to keep him from leaving home, police say.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department:
Celeste Nicole Picklesimer, 32, and Zachary Dan Willard, 23, both of Mack Smith Road, were arrested Dec. 22 on charges of aggravated assault, reckless conduct, and firearm discharge on or near a public highway.
Both Picklesimer and Willard have been released from jail on bond.
The shooting incident involving the couple began shortly after 10 p.m. on Dec. 22 when Catoosa County dispatch received multiple 911 calls of shots fired along Mack Smith Road.
Cpl. Aaron Cantrell says that when he arrived at the scene, Picklesimer and Willard admitted up front that they'd been the ones firing weapons, and that they had each done so at Picklesimer's juvenile son who was attempting to leave the home.
The couple told the same story: The boy was at a friend's house unwilling to come home, but that they'd tried to entice him with a pack of cigarettes.
"Mr. Willard stated the juvenile had called him and Ms. Picklesimer earlier and stated he would come home in the morning if they would leave a pack of cigarettes outside on the hood of a vehicle for him to pick up at approximately 10 p.m.," Cpl. Cantrell said. "Mr. Willard stated they put a pack of cigarettes outside and waited for the juvenile to show up."
The boy eventually arrived with a friend, grabbed the cigarettes and attempted to leave, at which time Willard followed them and fired two shots at them from his handgun, reports show.
Willard claimed he fired the shots into the ground near them in an attempt to scare them into not running away.
Willard further admitted that he shot "near" the boys two more times before they jumped into a vehicle on Elizabeth Street near Ann Street.
Picklesimer served up the same timeline of events, also admitted to shooting her handgun into ground near the boys, but added that she also shot multiple rounds from her .9-milimeter at the vehicle the boys took off in.
"Ms. Picklesimer stated when the juveniles got into the gold Buick Rendezvous, she started shooting toward the vehicle to attempt to shoot the tires," Cantrell said. "She stated 'I shot low towards the vehicle because the kids were trying to get in the car and I did not want to hit them, I just wanted to shoot the tires'."
Cantrell says Picklesimer also made the comment, "I think I shot all the ammo in my gun".
Both firearms were collected as evidence, and both Picklesimer and Willard were taken to Catoosa County jail while the boy was turned over to a family member.
After leaving the jail, Cantrell says he met with the mother of the other boy present during the incident, who claimed she was driving the vehicle the boys left the scene in.
"She stated she had brought Ms. Picklesimer's juvenile son home," Cantrell said. "She stated Ms. Picklesimer's juvenile son and her juvenile son got out of the vehicle and were walking up to the house. She stated the two were standing near the residence talking when she heard gunshots."
The woman claimed the boys began running from the home after the first shots were fired, and that several other shots rang out as they were running to the car.
"She stated she heard several more gunshots but could not see who was doing the shooting," Cantrell said.
The woman said she drove off scared and returned home, but also revealed that there were four additional children in the vehicle when she drove away from the scene.
When officers interviewed Picklesimer's son about the incident, he stated Willard yelled "you better run" while chasing and shooting at them, reports show.
While Willard and Picklesimer were initially charged with two counts of aggravated assault each for the shots fired at the two boys, Picklesimer garnered an additional four counts when Cantrell learned of the other children in the vehicle she shot at.