COCKE COUNTY—After being sought by law enforcement for a week, Tommy Lee “TJ” Rice, 39, Baysinger Road, is in custody. Rice is facing numerous charges including attempted first-degree murder.
Constable Nathan White reported that around 10:45 p.m. Wednesday night, he was contacted by an anonymous male stating that Rice was at his residence and was willing to turn himself into authorities.
Constable White arrested Rice and transported him to the Cocke County Jail Annex. He was charged with attempted first-degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, carrying a firearm with intent to cause harm and possession of a prohibited weapon.
Rice was also served with other warrants for aggravated assault (two counts), vandalism under $1,000 and interference with a 911 call. These charges stem from a domestic disturbance where Rice assaulted Linda Ottinger-Rice at a residence in Newport.
This arrest comes after Rice allegedly shot Cody Jordan Reed, 25, White Road, following an altercation inside a truck at the Rankin boat launch on December 31. Reed left the scene of the incident and was found at 641 Bybee Road.
Deputies found Reed had suffered injuries to his head, and had been shot at least one time at close range.
Reed was able to describe the incident in detail and told detectives that Rice had kidnapped him at gunpoint, struck him with the stock of the shotgun and then shot him.
According to reports, Rice fled the scene prior to law enforcements arrival in a green Chevrolet truck.
On Jan. 1 at around 2 a.m. authorities went to a church parking lot where they found the green Chevy truck.
Rice ran from the vehicle into a wooded are nearby. Deputies found a backpack beside the truck that contained Rice’s personal property as well as the shotgun.
The CCSO attempted to track Rice through the woods with K9 units, but were unable to locate the suspect.
Later that day, Detective Lt. Michael Whitmer went to a residence on Myers Circle to speak with Selisa Angel Kelsay regarding Rice’s whereabouts.
Kelsay advised law enforcement that Rice reached out to her via Facebook Messenger and told her the Sheriff’s Office was searching for him in connection to the shooting that happened the night before.
According to the report, after having knowledge that Rice was wanted, Kelsay reportedly drove Rice to McDonald’s at Exit 417.
Kelsay admitted to knowing Rice was wanted and still chose to assist him in leaving the area to avoid apprehension.
Kelsay was arrested on Wednesday, Jan. 6 and transported to the Cocke County Jail Annex. She was charged with accessory after the fact.