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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Somerville man says alcohol was to blame for a domestic disturbance that led to his fiancée being killed in a deputy-involved shooting Saturday in Bartlett.

However, Preston Morris said he still doesn’t know why deputies opened fire on 43-year-old Melissa Horton.

“They had her cornered over there. She couldn’t go anywhere. She pulled over,” said Morris. “I don’t think she would do anything stupid because, I mean, she loves her kids so much.”

Morris said he called the police after Horton pulled out a shotgun and hit him with the gun at his Somerville home. He said Horton had been drinking, and they started arguing after he told her she needed help.

Home on Highway 64, where officers were called about a domestic disturbance

“She had been out of rehab four or five times,” said Morris. “I just told her you’ve got to stop drinking or go to rehab, and she got mad and hit me over the head with the gun. Took off with the gun.”

It’s unclear why Horton ended up in the Bartlett area or exactly what happened when Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies spotted her car and pulled her over.

No one is saying if she had a gun with her or pointed or fired it at anyone. Morris thinks her large e-cigarette may have been mistaken for a weapon. 

“It’s sunk in now. I mean I was in shock and now I’m just devastated. On the other hand I’m really, really mad,” he said.

Scene of deputy-involved shooting at Golden Valley Lane and Ellis Road in Bartlett

Morris said he regrets getting law enforcement involved.

“It’s the worst decision I ever made in my life, apparently,” he said. “You wouldn’t think anything like this would happen.”

He thinks more could have been done to negotiate with the mother of three before her death.  

“And she was a nervous wreck. I mean anybody would be just terrified,” he said.

Morris said Horton was the mother of three girls. He said despite what happened to him, he wanted everyone to know that she was a good person.

“She was the most loving, beautiful, caring person that I’ve ever met in my entire life who every once and a while falls off the wagon. You know, makes crucial mistakes. It is just what happens,” he said.

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office said their only prior involvement with Horton was a DUI last summer.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said the deputies involved in the shooting had been routinely relieved of duty with pay as TBI special agents investigate the shooting.

The Shelby County Sheriffs office told us it is not releasing the number of deputies involved or their identities at this time. We also reached out to the TBI to get more clarity about the moments surrounding the shots fired. So far, we have not heard back.