Inmate takes own life after shooting 2 deputies at Coffee County courthouse

Michael Bell (Courtesy: Coffee County Sheriff’s Office)

MANCHESTER, Tenn. (WKRN) – Two deputies were shot by an inmate who took his own life soon after he appeared in court Monday afternoon in Coffee County.

The situation began at 2:30 p.m. when Michael Bell, 37, was in court on charges of kidnapping and evading arrest, among others.

During a press conference early Monday evening, authorities said Bell was in a holding cell after his hearing when a deputy went to get him.

Michael Bell (Courtesy: Coffee County Sheriff’s Office)

Bell reportedly attacked the deputy and a significant struggle ensued. The inmate was able to get the deputy’s gun and shot the officer one time before running away.

PHOTOS: Deputies shot at Coffee County courthouse

Authorities said Bell then shot another deputy as he was leaving the building.

The inmate then ran to nearby streets where he went into at least one home before leaving. As law enforcement officers closed in, the 37-year-old took his own life in the street.

The sheriff’s office said both men were last listed in stable condition.The deputies he’s accused of shooting have been identified as Wade Bassett, who was shot in the hand and taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, and Wendell Bowen, who was shot in the stomach and underwent surgery at Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga.

The courthouse will remain closed Tuesday. Further details weren’t immediately known.

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