Authorities Searching for Suspect in Duck Hunting Double Homicide

Authorities Searching for Suspect in Duck Hunting Double Homicide

UPDATE: January 27, 1:40 MT
District Attorney Tommy Thomas released more information today on the Reelfoot Lake shooting. He said David Vowell approached the three waterfowlers from a nearby blind and asked if he could hunt with them. Shortly thereafter, with no explanation, he shot Black and Grooms.

Crabtree, the third hunter, took the gun from Vowell and hit him with the butt of the firearm, knocking Vowell into the lake. Crabtree then threw the gun into the waist-deep water and loaded the two victims into a boat. As Crabtree drove away, he saw Vowell crawl out of the water and into the blind. That was the last time Vowell was seen.

In an interview with the Tennessee River Valley Newsa friend of the hunters speculated that something went wrong mentally with Vowell. According to those who know him, this is out of character for the man who has no criminal history.

UPDATE: January 26, 3:33 MT
The Tennessse Bureau of Investigation just announced that an arrest warrant has been filed for Vowell. He’s being charged with two counts of first degree murder. Previously Vowell was considered a “person of interest.”

UPDATE: January 26, 11:41 MT
According to the Jackson Sun, Vowell’s boat was found early this morning on the lake, but it was unoccupied. His truck was towed from the ramp last night.

“We have crews from TBI, Tennessee Wildlife Resources, Obion County Sheriff deputies all out looking for him,” District Attorney Tommy Thomas said. “We don’t know if he got off the lake or if he’s in the water, but we’re searching the entire area.”

Thomas also revealed that the third person with Black and Grooms was Jeffrey Crabtree. Crabtree witnessed the confrontation before seeking medical attention for the two murdered hunters.

ORIGINAL STORY: January 26, 9:31 MT
We have tragic news out of Tennessee this morning. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is searching for a 70-year-old person of interest regarding a double homicide on Reelfoot Lake.

Chance Black, 26, and Zachery Grooms, 25, both of Weakley County, were killed in the incident yesterday. According to local reports, the deaths occurred after the suspect left his hunting blind and approached another party of hunters. It’s believed that there was a third hunter in the blind with Black and Grooms when the shooting happened.

The suspect is David Vowell of Martin, Tennessee. He is considered armed and dangerous and has been on the run for about 24 hours. Nick Beres, of NewsChannel 5, reported last night that Vowell’s pickup and trailer were located at the dock, but that the boat is still missing.

“A lot of hunters come in here and they enjoy the duck hunting and all, but to be upset over somebody shooting more ducks or whatever the case may have been, I don’t know,” David Gray, who lives near the lake, told WPSD Local. “It’s bad to hear that someone, especially young boys, being treated that way. It’s a shame that something like this would happen.”

Reelfoot Lake is in the northwest corner of Tennessee. The 15,000-acre water body is mostly flooded forest and relatively shallow. It’s a popular destination for waterfowlers in the Mississippi Flyway because of its prime habitat.

Authorities are seeking anyone who was near the north end of Reelfoot Lake yesterday or may have information on Vowell’s whereabouts. The number to call is 1-800-TBI-FIND.

We’ll update this story as more information becomes available.

tennessee duck hunters killed
Zachery Grooms and Chance Black.
PD-1 Single Reed Duck Call
Save this product

Built on a J-Frame platform this single reed duck call is built for callers of all skill level and abilities.

PD-2 Double Reed Duck Call
Save this product

After hearing for years that duck hunters are looking for a double reed duck call that has the body and ability to reach the sounds only a single reed can we set out to change that and we are proud to offer this "new style" double reed.

The Essential Meatcrafter Knife
Save this product

A hybrid hunting fixed blade with a fine, smooth edge to trim, debone, or slice your preferred cuts of meat. Makes just as much sense in the back of your truck as it does in the kitchen drawer.

Wick Long Sleeve Crew
Save this product
First Lite

A next-to-skin base layer for high output hunts in hot weather.

Get the latest in your inbox
Subscribe to our newsletters to receive regular emails with hand-picked content, gear recommendations, and special deals.
Our picks for the week's best content and gear
For the whitetail obsessed, with Mark Kenyon
Redefining our connection to food, with Danielle Prewett
Your one-stop for everything waterfowl, with Sean Weaver
Get out on the water with the MeatEater Fishing crew
Technical hunting apparel
Purpose-built accessories for hunting and fishing
Quality elk, turkey, waterfowl, and deer calls
Save this article