South Pittsburg coffee shop experiences tragedy

One co-owner dead, the other arrested and charged with criminal homicide

SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. (WDEF) — Authorities say a 911 call was made around 8:30 a.m. central time Monday morning from Dragging Canoe Coffee Traders — a local favorite coffee shop.

Marion County Sheriff Ronnie “Bo” Burnett said that business co-owners Kevin Hudson and Robert John Bateh got into “an altercation.”

Shortly after, the situation “turned deadly.”

“One employee was killed, one has been charged with criminal homicide,” Burnett said. “Kevin Hudson has been transported to Nashville for the autopsy.”

Hudson’s now-former business partner, Robert John Bateh, was later arrested.

South Pittsburg Chief of Police Wayne Jordan said any motive behind the shooting is still unknown and under investigation with the TBI.

Regarding Bateh, Burnett has a good idea of what he’ll face next.

“Probably Wednesday, he’ll go up for a bond hearing,” Burnett said. “Bond may be set, may not be set. That’ll be something left up to the district attorney [who’ll] be there [and] the judge. I think he already has an attorney, so at some point they’ll have a bond hearing.

Burnett further says he and those in the small town are stunned from what happened.

“We’re all shocked,” Burnett said. “I worked 20 years [in] South Pittsburg so I know everybody down there. I know the family of the man that’s dead. It’s just a sad situation. It’s a real nice place. It’s a shock to everybody there.”

Several residents expressed their surprise about the incident, while others said the incident doesn’t represent the town at all.

One woman simply called it “a tragedy.”

The investigation is still ongoing.

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