DANDRIDGE, Tennessee (AP) -- A long-running child custody dispute erupted in gunfire after a 10-year-old boy's baseball game, leaving three of his grandparents dead and his father wounded, officials said Tuesday.
The shooting began Monday night as players and families were making their way to the parking lot. When it stopped, one witness said he looked out and saw the boy standing among the bloody bodies of his family.
"Maybe he was in shock, I don't know. He was walking around and it seemed he didn't have an expression on his face," said Wayne Treadway, treasurer of the South Jefferson County Little League.
Austin Shands' paternal grandparents, Ellen E. "Sue" Shands, 62, and Jerry D. Shands, 63, both were killed. His father, Jerry B. "Brent" Shands, 39, was seriously wounded. And his maternal grandfather, Samuel L. Noe, 61, also was dead.
A gun was recovered, but authorities weren't saying whom it belonged to or who fired it. They also refused to speculate about what happened in this mountain foothills community about 30 miles east of Knoxville.
"There are a lot of things that we are finding out more and more," said Dandridge Police Chief Carson Williams. "It is just a tragic situation that could happen anywhere and just unfortunately happened here."
But family members say it stemmed from the bitter divorce of Austin's parents, Brent Shands and Diane Shands Robbins, and their court fight over the boy's custody dating to January 2005.
Diane Shands Robbins was arrested in a drug raid in April 2005. On September 13, she pleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiring to distribute marijuana. She was remanded to the federal prison system while awaiting sentencing December 1, court records show.
Bobby Shands, who is the brother of Jerry Shands and uncle of Brent Shands, said Noe believed Jerry Shands turned her in. Bobby Shands claimed Noe "had threatened to shoot" the Shandses several times before.
"They were afraid of him on account of that," he said. Still, he said, he was "terribly shocked" to learn of the shooting.
About 75 people, including children, were in the area when the shooting occurred. No one else was injured, though authorities were offering counseling from a chaplain.
Brent Shands was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Knoxville for emergency surgery. His condition was serious, his uncle said.
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