MANCHESTER, Tenn. – A suspect died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he allegedly held five people against their will on the side of Interstate 24 in Coffee County.
The incident happened around 5:30 a.m. Monday near mile marker 100 along the interstate.
Deputies were called to the scene after the Coffee County Communication Center received a call from an open cell phone. The dispatcher was able to listen to what was going on and sent a deputy to the location of the cell phone.
Officials with the Coffee County Sheriff's Office arrived on the scene and found 24-year-old Jose Luis Garcia, who had been traveling in a car with five others to Nashville from Chattanooga.
At some point, Garcia pulled out a handgun and shot himself while a deputy was speaking with them.
The bullet apparently traveled through Garcia and struck two women inside the vehicle. They were taken to an area hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.
It was not known how he knew the others in the truck.
Witnesses told deputies that Garcia forced the driver to pull over on the side of the road, where he allegedly held them hostage for six hours.
One of the people inside the Chevrolet Avalanche was the person who called authorities. Had the truck been a mile further up the roadway, officials may not have been able to locate them due to spotty cell service.
Garcia had been on parole for aggravated robbery, but had apparently violated the terms of his parole.