Sevierville Police Department detectives have completed their investigation of the shooting that occurred on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at Tanger Five Oaks Mall, 1645 Parkway. (Please see media release dated April 16, 2019 below for initial information on the shooting.)
Since the initial information was released via the media release below and a press conference, both on the evening of April 16, detectives have learned the following.
• 75-year old John Marr, one of two persons who was shot, survived his injuries and was released from the hospital a few days after the incident.
• Detectives confirmed that the man who shot both victims before shooting himself, 21-year old Leon Steven Jones, Jr. did not know either of the persons that he shot.
• Leon Jones used a Keltec P32 semi-automatic handgun. Detectives have been unable to determine how he came into possession of the handgun.
• Leon Jones was a convicted felon. Therefore, he did not legally possess the handgun. (Convicted of aggravated burglary 2016 and theft over $10,000 in 2015.)
• When the gun was recovered upon arrival of the officers, there were 2 bullets remaining in the magazine. The magazine was capable of holding 10 bullets. No other weapons or ammunition were found on Leon Jones or the vehicle he traveled in to the mall.
• Leon Jones fired three bullets during the incident. One bullet struck 24-year old Olivia Katelyn Cunningham in the head; she was pronounced dead at the scene. One bullet struck John Marr in the right upper chest area; he was treated at a hospital and subsequently released. Leon Jones shot himself in the head; he was pronounced dead at the scene.
• Leon Jones came to the mall in a car driven by his girlfriend, where they planned to go shopping. Detectives have concluded his girlfriend was unaware that he was armed and that she had no prior knowledge that he was going to shoot anyone.
• Detectives believe Leon Jones was suffering from mental health issues and became suicidal after an argument with his girlfriend at the mall. Leon Jones had reportedly expressed suicidal ideations in the past but never acted upon them.
• The car Leon Jones arrived in was parked in the Coach/American Eagle parking area. He exited the car and proceeded directly to the shooting location.
• He shot Olivia Cunningham, turned to his left and walked briskly towards John Marr and shot him, and then shot himself.
• Upon arrival, the first officer observed two persons on the ground in front of the Coach store. These persons were later identified as Olivia Cunningham and Leon Jones.
• The officer determined that both appeared deceased and that one of the deceased persons was the lone shooter.
• A witness told the officer another victim had gone into the American Eagle store. The officer entered the store and began performing first aid on the victim. This person was later identified as John Marr.
“I am very proud of the men and women of the Sevierville Police Department,” said SPD Chief Joseph Manning. “Our dispatchers, patrol officers, and investigators responded to this event in an efficient and professional manner. I want to thank the Pigeon Forge Police Department for their rapid response in assisting us, as well as the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, Sevier County Emergency Management Agency, and the Gatlinburg Police Department for offering assistance. I also want to thank the Tanger management for their quick emergency notification of stores within the mall.”
ORIGINAL RELEASE: April 16, 2019
Police Respond to Active Shooter At Local Mall
Sevierville Police officers responded to multiple emergency calls of an active shooter today, Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The calls started at approximately 3:49 p.m. with persons saying a man was shooting outside the Coach store in Tanger Five Oaks Mall, 1645 Parkway.
Officers arrived moments later and discovered three shooting victims (the alleged shooter, one adult male and one adult female) outside the store. No shots were fired after officers arrived.
At this point in the investigation, it appears that the alleged shooter, 21-year old Leon Steven Jones of Newport/Sevierville, TN confronted 24-year old Olivia Katelyn Cunningham of York, PA and 75-year old John Marr of Templeton, MA outside the store and shot both with a semi-automatic handgun, and then shot himself with the same weapon. Olivia Cunningham and Leon Jones were pronounced dead at the scene; John Marr was transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center by the Sevier County Ambulance Service. His condition is not known at this time.
Investigators state that it appears the shooter did not know either victim, nor were the victims related. The investigation is ongoing.
The Pigeon Forge Police Department, Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, and Sevierville Fire Department also responded.