One man dies in shooting

Injured father only witness to son's killing
Mar. 11, 2013 @ 05:10 PM

A Bristol man told police that the man who shot him and killed his son had just approached their vehicle and asked for money while they sat in the parking lot of a local hotel Sunday night.

Fifty-seven-year-old Travis Dillard was in stable condition Monday at The University of Tennessee Medical Center but his son, 21-year-old Justin Dillard, also of Bristol, died Sunday night.

The two of them had registered to stay for a week at the River Lodge South hotel on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge, Police Chief Jack Baldwin said Monday. They were sitting in a pickup truck in the rear parking lot of the facility when the shooting occurred.

Travis Dillard told police that a man approached them while they were in the lot and asked them for money. He then shot both of them while they were still in the truck.

Baldwin said that information came from Travis Dillard at the scene, where he talked to emergency responders and police before he was transported to the hospital

There were no other apparent witnesses to the shooting; Travis Dillard called 911 at about 6:15 and was the only person to report the incident. “The only person that knows anything at all is the father,” Baldwin said, referring to Travis Dillard.

Dillard described the shooter as a black man, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and 250 pounds, with dreadlocks and wearing a purple shirt and jeans. He said the shooter left in a white sedan, possibly a Buick.

Police are asking that anyone with information on the incident or the suspect call them at 453-9063.

In the meantime, an investigator has been waiting to speak to Travis Dillard once he regains consciousness, the chief said.

A sign at the front door of the River Lodge South said it had been closed for several weeks and would reopen later this week, although there were several cars in the facility’s parking lot Monday. Calls to the hotel went to a voice mail system.

Justin Dillard appears to have had at least one brush with the law before. According to a report from the Kingsport Times-News, a man with the same name and address was caught driving a stolen car last October after the owner gave chase and he collided head-on with another vehicle.

Justin Dillard and the second driver suffered non life threatening injuries in that wreck.

The person in the Times-News story was 19, according to the story; a release form the Pigeon Forge Police Department said Justin Dillard was 21.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com