SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) In a matter of moments the three-day manhunt for a Sullivan County murder suspect came to an end, in the front yard of a home on Bristol Caverns Highway.
Johnny Royston, Jr. remains in jail after federal and state authorities received the tip they needed late Monday night.
That phone call led investigators straight to Royston, but he wasn’t alone.
Chris Barr said he watched as police arrested Johnny Royston, Jr. in front of his home, a man he said at the time he didn’t even know was at the center of a days-long manhunt and wanted for murder.
The capture unfolded in front of Barr’s eyes, as Royston and his friend, identified by authorities as Donald Hammonds, drove into Barr’s yard.
“Around through the yard here, real fast spinning around and the US Marshals pulled in right here and they ran head on into each other,” Barr recalled.
Just minutes before that on Monday night, Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson told us it was a tip from an observant caller in the same neighborhood that led investigators to Royston.
“They called in and said that a guy knocked on their door trying to find his way to Bristol Caverns Highway,” Anderson said. “That really ended the whole investigation right there that one phone call.”
And while Barr said he’s still in shock, the fear has since disappeared.
“Not since he’s locked up where he can’t harm anybody else, I’m pretty good now,” he said.
Tonight, he’s feeling thankful that he, his wife or anyone else wasn’t hurt.
Investigators are still trying to determine a motive in Saturday’s murder. Johnny Royston, Jr. is charged with second degree murder and drug possession. Donald Hammonds faces several charges including aggravated assault for allegedly trying to run over three officers Monday night.
Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson told us the suspects could face additional charges.
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