• Engaged couple, plus another person, arrested for robbery and shootout with Fayette County deputy

    By: Kirstin Garriss

    Updated:

    A third person has been arrested in connection with the gas station robbery that ended in a shootout with a Fayette County deputy. 

    TBI officials said Samuel Watkins, 31, helped plan the robbery and drove Christopher Lee, 21, to the gas station Thursday morning. 

    Jessica Gardner, 26, was arrested as well for her role in the crime. She was the clerk at the gas station, who handed the deposit bag full of money to Lee shortly before police arrived on scene. 

    Investigators with the TBI have confirmed Jessica Gardner and Samuel Watkins were engaged at the time of the gas station robbery.

    The deputy who was injured in the shootout that transpired was identified as Jimmy Pardue. 

    Officials told FOX13 that Pardue is now in stable condition with a “pelvic injury.”

    Pardue is expected to be in the hospital for the next few days recovering. 

    Gardner is being charged with theft over $10,000. Investigators said she was the clerk at Murphy’s Gas Station in Oakland, and she handed the deposit bag full of cash to Christopher Lee. 

    It is unclear how much money was inside the deposit bag. 

    Lee is the person charged with attempted first-degree murder after shooting and injuring a deputy. 

    Lee is accused of shooting and injuring a deputy in Oakland before carjacking a person at a gas station on Highway 64. 

    Officers responded initially to a robbery at the Murphy Express gas station. 

    According to Ricky Wilson with the Fayette County Sheriff's Department, the shooting happened just before 8 a.m. at the gas station in Oakland, Tennessee. 

    Lee exchanged gunfire with two officers, hitting one deputy who now has non-fatal injuries, police said. 

    The suspect then ran and carjacked a person at a Texaco Gas Station on Highway 64. 

    “Evil exist in this world, and we’re not immune to it just because we’re in the suburbs,” said Alexis Nash, a resident of the area. “It’s everywhere, it really doesn’t surprise me but it’s sad. It’s terrible and it is Thanksgiving Day.”


    Download the FOX13 Memphis app to receive alerts from breaking news in your neighborhood.

    CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD


    Trending stories:


    Surveillance video from the Texaco gas station – less than half a mile away from the shooting – captured Lee carjacking a person in the parking lot. 

    Lee is seen confronting the victim with a weapon, getting inside the car and taking off. 

    “Somebody could have died. Just makes you… you have to be more aware,” Nash said. 

    Lee crashed that car around 9 a.m. on Highway 64 at Rockcreek Parkway in Cordova, police said. 

    When he crashed the car after carjacking a victim across the street from the robbery, investigators said Lee sustained “non-fatal injuries.”

    Police took Lee into custody shortly after he crashed the stolen vehicle. 

    The deputy is expected to be okay. But, he is listed in critical condition and is currently in surgery.

    Police said the injured deputy will be moved to ICU after he gets out of surgery. 

    The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has taken over the investigation. 

    The TBI released a statement to FOX13, saying they investigate any case including officer-involved shootings when they get a request from a District Attorney General, even if it’s not fatal.

    TBI officials will share all information with the DAG throughout the process. 

    Both Lee and Gardner were booked into the Fayette County Jail. 

    Next Up: