Men arrested in Johnson City slingshot shooting spree linked to Knoxville vandalism cases

Dakotah Shell (Left), Joseph Dechristina (Right)

JONESBOROUGH (WATE) – Two men from Knoxville are facing dozens of charges after they were accused of using a slingshot to shoot ball bearings at cars, businesses and homes in the Johnson City area.

Johnson City Police Department said Joseph Dechristina, 22, and Dakotah Shell, 26, each face 11 counts felony reckless endangerment, 15 counts of misdemeanor vandalism and one count of aggravated assault. Knoxville Police Department said Dechristina and Shell were both charged with vandalism.

Darrell DeBusk with Knoxville Police Department said investigators believe Dechristina and shell were responsible for multiple acts of vandalism that occurred in Knoxville over the past two weeks.

Related: Police: BB gun breaks windows at Knoxville businesses

Dakotah Shell (Left), Joseph Dechristina (Right)


At 3:43 p.m. Wednesday, the Johnson City Police Department said they received several calls throughout the city of windows of vehicles and businesses being shot out. Investigators determined the windows were being broken out by metal ball bearings.

Police said a faculty member at East Tennessee State University was struck in the side with a ball bearing while walking along the street. The person was able to describe the suspects’ vehicle to dispatch.

A deputy with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office located the suspected vehicle on Indian Ridge Rd and performed a traffic stop where Dechristina and Shell were taken into custody. A sling shot was found inside the vehicle with several ball bearings. Police said the sling shot was determined to have been used to cause the damage to several vehicles and businesses throughout the city while the two drove around in the vehicle.

Dechristina and Shell were taken to the Washington County Detention Center. They are scheduled to be arraigned in sessions court Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

DeBusk says investigators interviewed both suspects. The investigation is ongoing but they will face charges in Knoxville.

Knoxville business owner’s whose buildings sustained damage say they are relieved these suspects have been caught.

“I’m happy to hear that,” said Libby Harb with Harb’s Carpet Center. “We work hard to have our business and have things that are nice, For people to take advantage and feel like they can just destroy property is frustrating.”

Thursday the window at Harb’s Carpet Center was boarded up but soon it will be replaced with a different kind of glass than before, tempered glass, one that is not supposed to shatter.

Archer Bagley with Archer’s BBQ says he is also  replaced his window with tempered glass.

“The old glass was actually not shatter proof,” said Bagley.  “We actually got a little bit nicer glass in there. Hopefully it won’t ever happen again but if it does it won’t scatter all over the place.”

Both businesses say this is not the first time windows have been busted and probably won’t be the last.

“We’ve had window issues for years, said Bagley. “We’ll go a couple of years and not have an issue, we’ll go several years and its just like its repeated but it’s nothing new to us.”

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