(WMC-TV) - Otha Castellaw a friend of Friendship Police Chief Bill Garrett says he didn't know what to think after hearing his close friend had been shot.
"It's surprising. I'm on the fire department with Bill. I'm on the rescue squad with Bill. We're both medical first responders," said Castellaw.
It happened just after 9 PM Friday at this Dollar General Store off Highway 412.
Craig Barbee is now charged with attempted first degree murder. Investigators say Barbee entered the store wearing a mask, armed with a handgun, and demanded money. Garrett was in the store, off duty shopping with his wife.
"He was in the back of the store and he told his wife to get in the back because they were being robbed and tried to get the gun out of his hand and the guy shot him," said neighbor Samantha Willnow.
We're told Garrett was hit in the stomach.
"He wants to help people anyway he can, so this is just a part of Bill that he would try to stop a robbery and even put his life at risk to help others," Castellaw stated.
Chopper 5 captured exclusive images of the massive manhunt for Barbee after he took off moments after the shooting. Law enforcement officers captured Barbee 6 hours later in Halls, TN.
Willnow, who works at the gas station next door, says the Dollar General has definitely had its share of problems over the years.
"Since I started working here, the Dollar Store has been robbed twice since the other night. Somebody's been shot and killed over there and just the other night somebody else got shot," said Willnow.
Garrett remains at The Med in serious condition, and is said to be improving.
A bank fund has been set up to help the family with expenses during the chief's recovery. Donations can be made at the Friendship Tennessee Bank at 574 Main Street.