September 8th, 2009
04:14 PM ET

Police: Sleeping teacher shot by daughter






[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/08/art.crimeblotter.jpg]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

A Tennessee high school teacher was shot to death by his teenage daughter while he was sleeping, authorities said Tuesday.

It is too early in the investigation to determine if any criminal charges will be filed, said Deputy Chief Donna Turner of the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office. “An accidental shooting has not been ruled out in this case, nor has it been ruled a homicide,” Turner said.

A news release from Sheriff J.T. “Pancho” Chumley provided details of what happened: Shortly after midnight on Monday, deputies responded to a report of a shooting at the Millington home of Douglas VanNeste, his wife and their two children. When they arrived, the deputies discovered VanNeste, 40, fatally shot.

Investigators believe his 15-year-old daughter shot VanNeste while he slept in a recliner in the den. Turner said he was killed with a 20-gauge single shot shotgun.

The teenager and other family members are cooperating with the police, Turner said. The15-year-old has been questioned.

An autopsy is being conducted by the county medical examiner. Preliminary findings could be made public later today.

Turner said the sheriff’s office will hand over its findings to the district attorney, who will make a recommendation as to whether or not to charge anyone with a crime.

VanNeste was a history teacher at Munford High School. Turner said he had taught at the school for approximately seven years.

“This is a tragic incident for the VanNeste family, the Munford High School staff and student body and our Tipton County community,” Sheriff Chumley said in the press release.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Today's Young need all the SUPPORT they can get

    And I will bet ...........These are some of the SAME people who have an issue with the President talking to our young people about personal accountability. Go figure.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 9, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  2. danny

    "ban the guns that kill the people" ?? what kind of rhetoric is that, people are killed with autos, are we going to ban them also, or how about people that drown, let's ban water.

    September 9, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  3. p brooks

    Everyone is commenting and running their mouth and don't even know the whole story. First of all don't you think if it would have been so clean cut then the girl would already be in jail? It's obvious that something else was going on in that house. Think before you speak sometimes.

    September 9, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  4. rita

    John guns don't kill people. people kills people with guns, get it straight.

    September 9, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  5. JJohnson

    They had 5 or 6 people living in a mobile home and, even though the dad was a teacher, the kids were homeschooled. I'm just saying... Any part of that equation would send me over the edge.

    September 9, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  6. Jake

    How the heck would no one be charged? If that 15 year old was an 18 year old...she would be questioned she would be jailed. The system was, has, and always will be corrupt. Save the children...more like let them shoot their father to death with a shotgun and then let them off.

    September 9, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  7. Gage crawley

    why did she do it i dont see why she would

    September 9, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  8. Jeff

    Well I don't think we should assume he did anything wrong. Also... the gun didnt just shoot him, his DAUGHTER DID. She could have picked up a knife and stabbed him. Let's ban all knives! Oh and baseball bats. Lets ban anything that could be sharp! Ban cars too cause they kill people. Damn evil cars....

    September 9, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  9. SadfortheWorld

    I am almost certain it has to do with how she was treated at school due to the fact that he was a teacher there. I don't want to believe the other. Our world is getting to be "not safe" for our kids.

    September 9, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  10. dia

    John....Guns DONT kill people..... PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE

    September 9, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  11. Ruth

    None of us know what was going on behind closed doors.......or not. I know of a girl who was that age, who was being abused by her father. After CPS investigated, and confirmed the abuse, he had to attend parenting classes. The girl was forced to return home, a month later she killed herself. The message she got from the state was: You belong to him, and neither the state nor the law will protect you. Do not be too quick to judge, until more facts are revealed.

    September 9, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  12. Donna

    No one knows why this girl felt the need to kill her father. Some may suspect abuse, others just plain ole vengeance. Here lately, these teens have been killing their parents/grand parents for no other reason than saying "no" or "pouring out the rest of the milk" (yes, it happened). One thing for sure is that banning guns is not going to fix this. Guns don't kill people. People with guns kills people. If we get rid of all guns, only the criminals will have guns and we will be in a helluva mess. Think about that. As for these teens who can't control their emotions; they better get a handle on it because once they are adults, all that "I didn't know" or "I didn't mean to" goes out the window. Personally, I think that this was more vengeance than anything else. There are too many places where this girl could have gone for help had she been abused (if that was the case). She decided to take the law into her own hands. She has to do the time for the crime. I will give you 3 to 1 odds, she is tried as a juvie regardless of why she did it. People don't seem to think kids are capable of cold-blooded murder. They are and I hope you never have to find out first hand just what exactly they are capable of when it comes to violence.

    September 9, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  13. Judy

    Whether the father was mistreating his daughter or not, this doesnt mean he deserved to die like this. There are certain ways to handle family issues and this is not one of them. No one has the right to end another persons life. Where did she get the gun? Where was the parental control?

    September 9, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  14. Jimmywillywonka

    ahhhhhhh america. gotta love the drama here

    but yeah i got twenty bucks saying that the father beat her

    September 9, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  15. Glendene Grant

    There is obviously a lot of unreported questions that the police are checking into – most likely...what else was happening in that house. Keep us posted as it looks like many want to hear what happens in this case. Mother of a international endangered missing woman, JESSIE FOSTER.

    September 9, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  16. Joanne P.

    I just cringe when half a story is published. Until the facts are revealed, we have no idea of the "why" this tragedy happened.

    September 9, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  17. elena

    ban guns? seriously? people kill people. put the -people- that kill behind bars for good and keep the minor offenders on probation stop over crowding prisons and wasting tax payers dollars for marijuana smokers. a prime example would be the jaycee dugard case, that man had a 50 year sentence but was let go after 10..come on! keep the people that are un-rehabilitatable where they belong, in prison. And if this girl fired the gun accidentally the parents should have taught their children gun safety and the proper and improper use of fire arms and kept said firearms in a locked gun safe that only the parents had access to the keys. Im sorry to hear the familiy's patriarch passed but let the justice system work how it should and stop your liberal way of thinking that is ruining this country.

    September 9, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  18. Julian Gunn from sandersville and rochester

    Wow. The girl may not be prosecuted? Well who is? I know there not going to let this go that easy.

    September 9, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  19. Chyna

    This is sad...But who's to say why she shot him? There is alot of crazy people in this world but you rarely hear a daughter killing her father unless there is more to the story than just wanting him dead...They need to look deeper in to this maybe he was molesting her...abusing her or more...I wouldn't jump to conclusion this early in the story.

    September 9, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  20. Jane

    Not one of you speculating on here has any idea what happened or why, other than poster Laura Wilson who SAYS she "knows why." If you actually do, why don't you say it? Anyone can say they "know why" but that means absolutely nothing if you can't back it up.

    September 9, 2009 at 8:44 am |
  21. karen-

    even if the dad was doing things he shouldn't, he was NOT doing them while sleeping in a recliner folks...I dont think it was an accident either..He was a TEACHER...why would she be in the living room after midnight, on a school night, with a shotgun? no, it wasnt an accident..People NEED to learn to plan to do it when they are being abused, molested or attacked, especially when they know the person and live with them...That's when it's self defense, not when the abuser is asleep...these tragic events shoudn't shock anyone anymore. it is what America and the world has become..People better wake up and lift their hands and hearts to GOD!

    September 9, 2009 at 8:32 am |
  22. Klaatu

    We should all wait til we have the rest of the story. It might have been an accident, there might be abuse in the family, lots of things to consider. It is very rare for a daughter to kill her parent.

    September 9, 2009 at 8:32 am |
  23. Mrkkray

    Not saying that there may not been something wrong going on in the house but we cannot immediatly jump to the conclusion that the father did something wrong.Theres to many cases lately where kids are killing or trying to get friends to kill their parents.

    September 9, 2009 at 8:31 am |
  24. Craig

    @ john

    Banning firearms is counterproductive. It may prevent some crimes, but the number is miniscule. The people who buy weapons with the intent to commit a crime won't buy them at a store where the bans are in place. They will buy them illegally on the street. Banning these things only keeps a means of self defense and personal protection out of the hands of good, hard working individuals. What we need is to teach our children how to properly handle firearms at a young age to prevent the fascination about something they aren't allowed to touch and the eventual accidental discharge incidents resulting in death. As far as the girl goes, there is no reason to accidentally shoot your dad in his chair with a shotgun.

    September 9, 2009 at 8:12 am |
  25. Richard

    Guns don't kill people. People kill people. If guns were not around, people would (and do!) use some other instrument. Instead of blaming "guns" (by the way, one of the most moronic statements ever made!), try looking deeping into the psychological aspects of the perp!

    September 9, 2009 at 8:07 am |
  26. cece

    that is so bad that a teacher was sleeping in the class and somebody shot him.

    September 9, 2009 at 7:56 am |
  27. sierra

    teacher shouldn't sleep in class because anything could possibly happen to them.

    September 9, 2009 at 7:54 am |
  28. tee tee

    omg.y did she do dat i think they should do some more looking into because it has to be a reason for her to shoot her father in her sleep

    September 9, 2009 at 7:50 am |
  29. chaos titanium

    heres a theory. the girl shot him. heres another theory. instead of looking for a bulllet, loook for the wound itself.

    tada! magic!

    September 9, 2009 at 7:20 am |
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