Suspect arrested in police chief shooting

(WMC-TV) - A suspect is now in custody charged with shooting Friendship Police Chief Bill Garrett.

Thirty-nine year old Craig Barbee of Dyersburg is now charged with attempted first degree murder in the shooting of Bill Garrett, chief of police in Friendship, Tennessee.

Around 9 o'clock Friday night, investigators say Barbee entered the Crockett County Dollar General store wearing a mask, armed with a handgun in an attempted robbery. Chief Garrett was said to be off duty shopping inside the store with his wife when a struggle ensued between Garrett and Barbee. Garrett was shot once in the abdomen by Barbee, who fled the scene.

Crockett County investigators say Barbee was taken into custody around 2:45 this morning in Halls, TN without incident…some six hours after the incident initially took place.

Chopper 5 was over the scene at the Dollar General in Crockett County last night shortly after the shooting took place.  Several agencies from across West Tennessee, including Dyer and Hardeman County officers, mobilized a manhunt for the suspect.

Tennessee Highway Patrol officers set up roadblocks on the major roads into Friendship during the overnight manhunt.

Chief Garrett has been with the Friendship, Tennessee police department some 20 years.  According to the Crockett County Sheriff's Department, Garrett underwent surgery shortly after being air lifted to The Med last night and is now resting and recovering.

Action News 5 spoke with a nursing supervisor at The Med who says the chief's condition has improved from critical to serious condition.

"You get our attention when you start shooting at us or start shooting us you know, and people have come from a long way and we've gotten a lot of phone calls from people extremely far off checking on the officer," stated Crockett County Sheriff Troy Kylce.

Sheriff Kylce said at one point investigators were searching for two suspects involved in this shooting.  Right now investigators will not say if the manhunt continues for another suspect.

Barbee is currently being held in a Crockett County Jail, without bond.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.