May 10, 2003 Saturday
Jail Escapee Shot Holding Son at Gunpoint

BYLINE: BOBBY ROSS Jr.; Associated Press Writer

SECTION: DOMESTIC NEWS

LENGTH: 353 words

DATELINE: SMITHVILLE, Tenn.

A jail escapee who stole a deputy’s gun and patrol car and then kidnapped her 3-year-old son was shot Friday as she held the gun to the boy’s head in a standoff with police. The boy, splattered with his mother’s blood, was not injured.

Karen Lovell, who was serving time for harassment and stalking, was taken to a Chattanooga hospital, where officials refused to release her condition. She was shot in the head.

DeKalb County Sheriff Lloyd Emmons said Capt. Mark Collins was standing about 10 feet away from Lovell when he shot her outside a home in this rural town 60 miles southeast of Nashville.

“She actually put the gun to the baby’s head and she said, ‘I’m going to kill him.’ She gritted her teeth and closed her eyes,” said Emmons, who saw the shooting. “It was just like she was waiting to hear the shot.”

Collins caught the boy before Lovell fell. Collins was later seen sobbing and being comforted by his fellow deputies.

According to Emmons, Lovell faked a seizure Thursday night and was taken to a hospital for evaluation. She was returned to the DeKalb County jail early Friday when she somehow got a deputy’s gun and car keys, and stole his patrol car.

She forced her way into the home of her sister, who had legal custody of her son, Kadan. She took her son at gunpoint and shot her sister’s dog.

A short time later, Lovell ditched the patrol car and disappeared on foot in dense woods not far from her sister’s home. She was spotted hours later about a half-mile from her sister’s house.

Collins, with his gun still in his holster, got close enough to talk with Lovell and raised his arms. He told her he would put his gun down if she would put hers down.

Lovell alternated between pointing the gun at the boy’s head and waving it at officers. Collins opened fire when she threatened to kill the boy.

“He had no choice in the matter. We all wish it hadn’t ended this way, but she made the choice for us,” Emmons said.

Lovell pleaded guilty Feb. 28 to two counts of telephone harassment and one count of stalking a Smithville neighbor. She was sentenced to nearly a year in jail.

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