Suspect in custody following stabbing and standoff at Kingsport IHOP. The Kingsport Police Department reports that the incident occurred at 8:50 p.m. Saturday at the IHOP on East Stone Drive. Two adult men were found at the restaurant with knife wounds. They were both transported to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. An investigation found that the two men were involved in an altercation with Aaron E. Hopson, 40, who is accused of stabbing both men before fleeing the scene. One of the men was an acquaintance of Hopson. He was later arrested following a brief stand-off early Sunday morning and has been charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder. The investigation remains active and ongoing, and the victims' names have not been released.
Coeburn man accused of robbing Big Stone Gap hotel last December now charged with abduction. A grand jury indicted Byron Kent Newsom, 42, last Wednesday with robbery, abduction, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. The charges stem from an incident on December 27, 2021, when Newsom is accused of entering the lobby of the Quality Inn in Big Stone Gap and demanding money from the clerk while he held a gun. He was arrested after evidence led the Wise County Sheriff's Office to finding him in Canton, North Carolina. The robbery and use of a firearm charge each carry a punishment of up to 20 years in prison if convicted, while the maximum punishment for abduction is up to ten years in prison.
One person is dead following an officer-involved shooting in Coeburn Sunday morning. The Dickenson County Sheriff's Office reports that a deputy attempted to stop a vehicle driving on Rachel's Chapel Road at around 1:20 a.m. Sunday. The driver, 38-year-old Jason Neal Puckett, reportedly left the vehicle and aimed a gun at the deputy, leading to the deputy shooting Puckett. He was transported to the Dickenson County Hospital where he later died. The deputy was not injured in the shooting. Virginia State Police's Wytheville Field Office is leading the investigation into the shooting.
The phone services are now working at most of the New Peoples Bank branches. A technological issue was reported on Wednesday and third-party experts were assisting the bank on Thursday. The only branches that do not have phone service at this time are the Big Stone Gap, Haysi, Clintwood, and Grundy branches. The hours of operation are being extended for today to 6 p.m. and drive-thru windows are open for limited transactions.
Big Stone Gap man faces 24-count indictment on rape and incest charges. 48-year-old Michael Scott Clem has been indicted on 12 counts of incest, six counts of rape, and six counts of forcible rape in connection with a series of alleged incidents over a seven-year period starting in January 2014. Ten of the incest counts carry a maximum prison sentence of ten years in prison, with the other two carrying a 20-year maximum sentence. Each of the six rape and six forcible rape charges carry a mandatory minimum life sentence.
The Southwest Virginia Museum Historical Park, in Big Stone Gap, will host campfire sing and marshmallow roast later this month. The museum will host the event on Tuesday, June 28 from 7-9 p.m. in celebration of the Great American Campout. Admission will be free as everyone is welcome to attend to enjoy the fire-roasted treats and regional music around the fire. Musicians and storytellers are encouraged to attend the event for a "round robin" and informal setup. The museum is located at 10 West First Street North in Big Stone Gap.
St. Paul woman convicted for her role in a $499,000 pandemic benefits scheme. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that Marissa Leanna Kiser was sentenced to 27 months in prison. Kiser was found guilty in February of conspiracy to defraud the United States, fraud in connection with emergency benefits, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud in connection with emergency benefits, and aggravated identity theft. Kiser and her co-conspirators are accused by the DOJ filed fraudulent claims with the Virginia Employment Commission on behalf of at least 37 people over the course of nine months.
Richlands salon owner received nearly $30,000 in fraudulent COVID-19 unemployment funds. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 36-year-old Mandi Dawn Hammond pleaded guilty to one count of fraud in connection with a major disaster or emergency benefits program and one count of mail fraud. Hammond fraudulently took taxpayer assistance. She owned and operated Jama Nail Beauty Bar & Gift Shop in Richlands. An executive order was signed by former Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in March 2020 that closed all close-contact salons and Hammond closed her business for about six weeks. In April 2020, she filed an application for pandemic unemployment assistance from the Virginia Employment Commission website. She legitimately received pandemic unemployment assistance as intended by the government. In May 2020, the executive order was lifted, and she reopened her business, but she kept filing weekly certifications to receive pandemic unemployment benefits through August 2021. Hammond received at least $29,154 in funds that she was not entitled to. Hammond is scheduled to be sentenced on September 15 and could face up to 30 years in prison.
Bell County, Kentucky man charged in early Wednesday morning stabbing. The Middlesboro Police Department reports that they were called to a home in the Hinks Heights area at around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. A man was found with a knife wound in his stomach and was transported to Middlesboro ARH where his condition is unknown at this time. The suspect, 29-year-old Edward Christopher Horne, of Middlesboro, was found near the Happy Hollow Apartments and later admitted to the stabbing. Horne has been charged with burglary.
15-year-old from Clintwood killed in Saturday evening crash. Virginia State Police reports that the crash occurred in the 300 block of Flatwoods Road in Coeburn at around 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The crash occurred on private property when a Geo Tracker had been driving down a gravel driveway before flipping over an embankment. The driver, a 15-year-old male, died at the scene. The VSP will not complete a crash report since the incident occurred on private property.