A Tennessee school teacher and his eight-year-old son both died after they were found with gunshot wounds inside a burning house in a potential murder-suicide.
James Reagan, 38, and his son Clark Reagan were found in their Savannah Village Home in Maryville just after 9am on Monday morning after a home inspector who went to see the property for a pending sale saw smoke and called 911.
Firefighters battled the flames and pulled the pair from the building only to find both had gunshot wounds before recovering a handgun from the burnt bedroom.
Authorities say Reagan, who was separated from the child’s mother, Miranda Reagan, taught first grade at a Maryville elementary school where Clark had just completed the third grade.
Fire crews also reported the heavy smell of gasoline and had to break through a locked door in order to gain access to the building.
Both were transported to Blount Memorial hospital, where police said the father was pronounced dead about an hour later.
The child was taken to UT Medical Center, where he died around midday.
‘We join our community in sending our thoughts and prayers to this family and all who know and love them,’ Maryville Police said in a statement.
Maryville Schools released the following statement Monday afternoon: ‘As released by our police department earlier this afternoon, a Maryville father and son passed this morning in a terrible tragedy.
‘Words cannot express our overwhelming sense of devastation and grief. We know the media will have many questions, so we are confirming that the two involved were, in fact, a teacher and a student in the Maryville school district.
‘Our hearts are also broken for our colleague, friend, and the loving mother of this young victim.’
On Monday, some neighbors on the block of Savannah Village Drive answered the door in tears.
‘I guess we’re all feeling kind of helpless,’ Jolly Shelton, who lives two doors down from the Reagans and saw first responders arrive.
‘What can we do? You know if only we could’ve done something before.’
In a neighborhood that she says is friendly and makes every effort to reach out to others, Shelton said she and her fellow neighbors have been left heartbroken and stunned by the tragedy.
‘I mean, the poor mother, and for their family… what a tragic, tragic loss,’ she said.