By Associated Press - Tuesday, June 2, 2020

SPRINGVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee business owner fatally shot his estranged wife and an employee, leading to an hours-long standoff that ended with his death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said.

Bobby Mercer went to his heating and cooling business in Springville on Monday morning and shot Amanda Mercer in the front of the building, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Facebook.

Two employees ran outside while a third employee inside called 911, the statement said. Cindy Townsend was on the phone with dispatchers when the sheriff’s office says Bobby Mercer shot her.

Authorities responded and began text messaging with Bobby Mercer, who was still inside the business. Townsend’s condition was unknown at the time, the statement said. Mercer told officials she was unharmed but did not offer proof that she was still alive.

Negotiations were eventually halted by Mercer, so authorities said they called in tactical teams. A robot equipped with a camera was sent into the business, where officials say Mercer was seen trying to barricade himself.

Tear gas was deployed but Mercer did not come out. The teams then entered the business where he was found with fatal self-inflicted gunshot wound, the sheriff’s office said.

Bobby and Amanda Mercer were co-owners of the business and had been going through a divorce, Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew told The Paris Post-Intelligencer.

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