One of the countless tough reporting assignments this week belonged to Tammy Childress and Robert Sorrell, reporters for Tennessee daily newspaper the Bristol Herald Courier. Early Thursday morning, Jennifer Rooney, a 44-year-old married mother of two who delivers the paper, was shot on the Volunteer Parkway while driving in her SUV to pick up that day’s batch. She later died of her injuries.
The black Army veteran accused of randomly targeting Rooney, a police officer and several other drivers told investigators he was troubled by this week’s shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. An assault-style weapon was reportedly used. From the piece by Childress and Sorrell:
By the time [husband] David Rooney arrived at Bristol Regional Medical Center, his wife was dead.
“When she arrived at the hospital, she was breathing but unresponsive,” David Rooney said, weeping. “Her heart had stopped and they couldn’t revive her.”
The suddenly widowed father had to tell their children [Grace, Chauncey] the unimaginable.
“I did the best I could,” he said. “The only thing I could think to tell them was that their mommy wasn’t coming home. Grace is kind of taking it in spells. She cries off and on, but she’s trying to keep her mind off of it. My son tends to bottle up his emotions, so, at this point, he’s handling it like it’s just another day. It will hit him eventually, and we’ll be here for him when it does.”
A scholarship donations page has been set up on GoFundMe on behalf of the couple’s two young children, ages 10 and 12. The Bristol paper, which has a circulation of around 40,000, is owned by Berkshire Hathaway. RIP.