Editorial: Unanswered questions — It’s important to know how a felon managed to possess a firearm
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Jan 13, 2014 | 2014 views |  0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Calhoun County assistant coroner Shane Adrian and law enforcement officers work the scene of a fatal shooting in Hobson City Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Trent Penny/The Anniston Star
Calhoun County assistant coroner Shane Adrian and law enforcement officers work the scene of a fatal shooting in Hobson City Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Trent Penny/The Anniston Star
slideshow
Last Wednesday, police say, Johnny Austin Evans, 34, shot and injured his girlfriend with a .40-caliber automatic pistol. He then turned the weapon on himself, taking his own life.

Afterward, police and other authorities surrounded Evans’ Council Avenue residence in Hobson City. Police suggested the shootings sprang from a domestic dispute. According to police, Evans’ girlfriend, Tuy Kim Truong, 22, of Oxford, has been released from the hospital.

Our community is small enough and incidences of lethal violence are rare enough that The Star’s reporting on this tragedy was one of the most closely read stories of last week. A day after our initial reporting, our newsroom searched for more details on Evans. What emerged was a 1998 manslaughter conviction for the shooting death of a 34-year-old Hobson City resident in 1996. Evans was paroled in 2010, after serving 12 years of a 17-year sentence.

Federal and state laws prohibit felons from possessing firearms, which leads to a pertinent question: How did Evans come to acquire the weapon he used to shoot a woman and take his own life?

Editors and reporters at The Star realize that many residents in our small towns feel such losses personally. The victims and the perpetrators are not merely names on a printed page. They often share deep bonds. In this case we have heard from many who are in mourning. They are unhappy (in some cases that’s putting it mildly) that our follow-up report looked back at Evans’ criminal history. Why, they ask, dredge up old news at this time?

Evans’ life was surely more than two violent incidents. His friends and family knew this man in a different context.

We are sensitive to those feelings, yet the newspaper can’t ignore information so pertinent. Evans served significant jail time for taking a man’s life with a firearm in 1996. In early 2014, he used a firearm to shoot another person and then take his own life.

Authorities tell The Star they are examining the weapon in hopes of learning how Evans acquired it. Among the many unanswered questions involving this story, that question is valid.
Comments must be made through Facebook
No personal attacks
No name-calling
No offensive language
Comments must stay on topic
No infringement of copyrighted material


Friends to Follow



Today's Events

event calendar

post a new event

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Marketplace