ARLINGTON, Tenn. — An Arlington man ended up in jail after threatening a woman who was simply looking for her dog. That woman talked with WREG but doesn’t want to be identified.
She says the dog ran into the woods Wednesday night after she let him out of her house on Brunswick Road. She went looking for him and ended up in James Coker’s yard.
“The guy (Coker) comes out and says, ‘You know you’re trespassing right? Don’t you see the dang signs?” she said.
The signs flank a chain that blocks his driveway. But his house doesn’t have a fence around it.
“I said, ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you had the signs there,” the woman said.
She says he told her he could shoot her for being there. So, she left and went down the street to continue her search. He pulled up in his truck minutes later.
“He rolled his window down and he was showing me his pistol, and he was like, ‘This is the gun I’m going to shoot you with next time I see you crossing on my property,” the woman said. “I won’t lie. I was shaking and babbling when I was talking. I was scared.”
Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Coker after the woman’s husband called 911. They say he admitted to threatening her and told them he has the right to shoot trespassers.
Jenny Owen is a licensed hand gun instructor at Top Brass Sports. She told us what deputies told Coker. In Tennessee, you can’t shoot someone just for trespassing.
“If they’re just crossing your property and you don’t want them there, you can’t just shoot ’em,” Owen said. “You have to be in fear for your life.”
“Now, if you’re in your yard doing yard work and someone comes on your property and they’re trying to kill you and it’s clear that they’re trying to kill you, then, of course, you can shoot them,” Owen said.
That woman did find her dog after she was able to calm down a bit.
Coker is charged with aggravated assault. He’ll face a judge on Friday.