After an interview that lasted several hours, Justin S. Golson (22), has been formally charged with criminal homicide at 12:02 AM and booked into the Davidson County Jail with no bond. Here’s what happened:
Police officers from a number of MNPD components responded to the mall at 2:23 p.m. on a report of an active shooter. The investigation now shows that a continuing dispute between Churchwell and Golson, who knew each other, led to a physical confrontation in the mall hallway, during which Golson pulled a semi-automatic pistol he was carrying and shot Churchwell in the neck. Responding officers carried Churchwell outside to an awaiting ambulance. He died shortly after arriving at Skyline Medical Center.
Golson ran from the mall after the shooting and went to a Grand Ole Opry ticket booth across the street. He placed the gun, which had been reported stolen, on the counter and asked that someone call 911. A retired California law enforcement officer was in the ticket booth, took possession of the gun, and directed Golson to lie on the ground until MNPD officers arrived.
Golson, who worked at a shoe shine kiosk in the mall, is reporting that the feud had to do with him getting into a physical fight with a relative of Churchwell’s in March. He believes he was seen by happenstance in the mall earlier today by an associate of Churchwell’s. Three other persons were with Churchwell when he encountered Golson this afternoon. Golson concedes that no gun was pulled on him, although MNPD officers did recover two pistols from the purse of Churchwell’s girlfriend after she was detained as part of the investigation.
There will be an enhanced MNPD presence at Opry Mills Mall on Friday to enhance safety for shoppers and staff, although this shooting case is isolated to the handful of persons involved in the previously mentioned dispute.
Justin Golson tonight is now charged with criminal homicide for this afternoon’s fatal shooting of Demarco Churchwell in a hallway of Opry Mills Mall outside the Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Lids stores.