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. chaos titanium

    hey guys, i have a theory! what if they find a bullet in the autopsy? i mean, she fired at him, but it"s not like the bullet killed him, right?

    i love my sarcasm.

    September 9, 2009 at 7:19 am |
  2. E. Elliott

    Another victory for the NRA and the idea that we all should live life as an armed camp. Dad they would claim should have been alert to possible danger and had his gun ready. Oh, wait it was his gun. Or maybe a win for Ronald Regan, who decided money was more important than mental care, which might have perevented this tragedy.

    September 9, 2009 at 6:58 am |
  3. Terry, TX

    This make nationwide news.....how about talking about the wack job ..Van Jones....that just resigned from the White House....and then lied in his resignation letter.

    September 9, 2009 at 2:45 am |
  4. Myron

    sounds like a case of molestation revenge

    September 9, 2009 at 2:31 am |
  5. Cemmay

    a couple of posters must know the girl and why she shot him as they have made the statements that they already know why. If they have verifyable information, they need to talk to the police.

    September 9, 2009 at 1:54 am |
  6. Juliet

    This is serious..If the gal admit to doing this then we can only ponder and wonder what provoked her to do such a thing..My regards to the family.

    September 9, 2009 at 1:35 am |
  7. Jessica

    What a tragic story. By the way, guns don't kill people; people kill people.

    September 9, 2009 at 1:00 am |
  8. Luek

    Since this happened in Tennessee the state that gave of the Bloody Mary Winkler Get Out Of Jail Free Card, she should play it and just say "he made me wear tacky platform shoes and was always criticizing me about something." Tada! Out in six month tops! Then it is the Oprah Show and the tabloid gigs.

    September 9, 2009 at 12:36 am |
  9. Nancy

    No wonder it was written 2,000 years ago of the last days of this rotten system.. Men will be saying, "what's bad is good, and what's good is bad."..
    My heart goes out to this girl who no doubt was abused by a sorry popa. All us older ones knows and understands the emotional state of a teenager. Seems to me the entire family must have feared him and his abuse. Sadly. this kid decided enough was enough. Even sader the mom did not take them away from such conditions before it got this far..
    So young, so foolish. May she find the strength to turn her life around and be able to move on from this horrible decision she made.

    September 9, 2009 at 12:25 am |
  10. rob

    It makes no sense to articulate something bad must have happen, to the daughter at the hands of her father. I rest assure you more will come out of this. Money perhaps or he was cheating on mom.

    September 9, 2009 at 12:22 am |
  11. Michelle

    I agree we shouldnt jump to conclusions because she could have been protecting herself or even someone else in her family maybe he was abusive to her mom or her or worse we need to wait until we know all the facts may the truth come out.

    September 9, 2009 at 12:19 am |
  12. Gina

    This is so heartbreaking. My prayerrs are with the family, student body and the staff of Mumford High School. Why would a daughter take such drastic measures if this act was intentionally done? Counseling is definitely needed for5 the family. Hopefully police will give an update on the progress of its investigation.

    September 9, 2009 at 12:14 am |
  13. Ned

    Laura Wilson did it.

    September 9, 2009 at 12:12 am |
  14. Katie

    How do you accidently shoot someone to death? She intentionally did it and probably because he was " supposedly " abusing her in some way.

    September 8, 2009 at 11:58 pm |
  15. orrando

    truly horrible but i want to know why did she do it if she did ?

    September 8, 2009 at 11:56 pm |
  16. Linda

    get real
    she shot him for a good reason

    September 8, 2009 at 11:52 pm |
  17. Deborah

    If this is what i think it probably is, she would suffer for the rest of her life. But, her actions, will not make here whole......he took her life first.
    It is very sad to me. I know .......

    September 8, 2009 at 11:45 pm |
  18. Ssups

    John, your comment is shear genius! Let's also ban steak knives, kitchen knives, hammers, bats, cars, nail guns, and anything else that has been used to kill people.

    September 8, 2009 at 11:38 pm |
  19. Mary Lanosa

    Wow, there are so many scenerios that could apply here. I personally would have to see the evidence to even guess who really did it and the why behind it. Either way people are grieving for him and missing him right this moment.

    I wonder if posting this article is an experiement in jumping to conclusions.

    September 8, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  20. Elrodabc

    Only three reasons: (1) Dad was up to something against the law
    (2) Daughter wanted to do something Dad disapproved of and was upset at Dad. (3) Daughter was protecting someone, or at least thought she was.

    September 8, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  21. Dark Justice

    For those who suggest that the daughter should be "arrested immediately", let's find out what the extenuating circumstances were first, shall we? I doubt she shot him over her curfew. Not to jump to conclusions, but I'll be curious to find out how long and how badly he had been abusing her. These things don;t happen in a vacuum.

    I'm not "anti-gun", but people, please, keep them locked up and separate from the ammunition. Use some common sense! Guns DO kill people. Guns in the hands of angry family members who would otherwise have yelled, screamed, and thrown dishes. Minor family kerfuffles have a way of turning into homicides when guns are present. Households with available firearms are statistically far more likely to suffer homicides and suicides of family members than households without firearms. That's not politics, it's a hard, cold fact.

    September 8, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  22. Mouthy

    I think that these kids that are killing their parents need to be evaluated and not convicted. I pray that this child can get some help and the real reason will come out. My heart goes out to that child as well as the rest of the family

    September 8, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  23. Pedals

    Peculiar reporting on this story. There has to be a lot more going on here. Shot Gun+12 Midnight+What is she doing with a loaded gun?

    September 8, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  24. Traci

    In response to Rae's comment, our legal system is supposed to be based off of the notion that people are innocent until proven guilty, so curb the blood thirst. There is a number of different situations that could have resulted in this unfortunate incident, including misfire. This is extremely common in households that don't properly store guns in safe locations where only the appropriate people have access to them. A death in one's family is terribly disruptive and traumatic, but when coupled with the intrusive, and often hasty opinions of the angry mob, it makes it nearly impossible to restore any normalcy for the victims/SUSPECTS. I believe this to be counterproductive and regressive in the face of what we claim to strive for with our legal system.

    September 8, 2009 at 9:58 pm |
  25. izaebele

    That's depressing.

    Yet interesting.

    I'll be checking up on this again to see more news. How sad this must be for the family and friends.

    September 8, 2009 at 9:57 pm |
  26. Garden Planter

    Given the statistics of how many female children are sexually abused, 2 in every 5, male children 1 in every 5 and the scores of women who are abused, it is statistically highly improbable that abuse of some kind, if not all kinds, were involved. And, folks, these are moderate estimates, there are many studies and polls that show much higher percentages. Somebody's doing the abusing! Look around you in any crowded place with say 20 people in it, half adults and half children: the odds are high that you are loooking at 8 sexually abused girls and 4 sexually abused boys and think about how many predators you must be looking at. Again, somebody's abusing these kids and we just fail, over and over again, as a society and a so-called culture, to address the trauma and disease. We fail miserably. Wake up and open your eyes. It's not pretty, but it is the ugly reality no one wants to talk about until it's too late.

    September 8, 2009 at 9:57 pm |
  27. Monty

    Janies got a gun...

    September 8, 2009 at 9:40 pm |
  28. mariah powell

    wow! my question is why did she shoot him?? there could be something behind that?? couldnt there??

    September 8, 2009 at 9:14 pm |
  29. terry

    i will not come 2 conclusions just yet until we hear further of wat the police have 2 say but still the daughter should not of take the law into her hands

    September 8, 2009 at 9:01 pm |
  30. Breanna!

    what happened to the chicks mom? could that be the reason why she murdered him.? either way thats wrong and she shouldnt have done that to her dad and she should be in juvy or jail!!.

    September 8, 2009 at 8:27 pm |
  31. jx5

    People kill people John, guns don't kill people no more than pencils misspell words or knives stab people or bats bash in peoples heads. So, what happens when we ban guns and only criminals have have them. If you want to be caught unarmed in the face of a murderer that is your choice. I for one choose not too. Now, instead of making this incident about the gun why don't we make it about the actions and choices of the people involved, or are we not responsible for our own actions any longer?

    September 8, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  32. Annie Kate

    I hope you will update us on what happens in this case. I would really like to know why the teen did it and what charges, if any, are placed. Not knowing those items and exactly what happened I am not going to rush to judgment. Doesn't sound like the police are either.

    September 8, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  33. tammi palmer

    Ok, why would she do that, lets see-–sexual abuse

    September 8, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  34. Mari

    Question is why would a daughter kill her father? We do not know the full story yet.

    September 8, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  35. Niki Birdsflight

    Likely he had just helped himself at the" fountain of love" of his innocent child. Others were asleep. She has not been charged, The police must have obvious reasons for not taking her in. It will all come out. I feel for that child.

    September 8, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  36. Steven

    To Bobby & Laura ; don't automatically label him as an abusive man or something. For all we know its just the daughter had issues or that he told her no to buying her something expensive. Teens are quick to emotion so could be the reason for this happening.

    September 8, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  37. john

    Ban the guns that kill the people

    September 8, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  38. kieran walsh

    I can see by most of the comments about this case that none of you are lawyers or cops. When the cops don't arrest someone who was holding a loaded gun, is admitting the shooting, witnesses present, then there's more to the story. As this story unfolds you will certainly see how dumb these comments have been.

    September 8, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  39. Mike in NYC

    Come on, CNN, let's hear something about the Milwaukee serial killer case. There's not even any mention of it on your crime page!

    September 8, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  40. Kent, Illinois

    We don't know the details. maybe the dad was doing things he shouldn't have been doing and the daughter was protecting herself. I'll wait with my judgement til I know what really happened.

    September 8, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  41. janinpenna


    If it was deliberate, I wonder why she felt she didn't have any other options? Teens are so emotional. They rarely think things thru.

    September 8, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  42. ann

    well it didn;t seem like A accident to me at midnight what would A teen ager be doing up at midnight with A loaded gun while there father was A sleep in A chair this was no accident and should have been arrest made right A way

    September 8, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  43. vdavis

    the police know the daughter shot her father but they don't know if she did it intentionally or by accident? if the other family members are talking, what is the problem?

    September 8, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  44. valerie

    The father should not have been sleeping !!!

    September 8, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  45. JoJo PA

    Why does it seem like we're only hearing the sad stuff? Lately all of the news has been about nothing but things that make you want to cry or question human nature. I hope this family can find peace and closure.

    September 8, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  46. Bobby

    Looks like the daughter got herself some justice.

    September 8, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  47. rae

    trying to decide if anyone should be charged??? Are you kidding me? Yea, how about the 15 year old who pulled the trigger. Makes since to me.

    September 8, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  48. Laura Wilson

    This is terrible, nothing is said though about why she said she did it although i know why

    September 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  49. Mike in NYC

    How about following the biggest crime story of the week, namely, the Milwaukee serial killer?

    September 8, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  50. Samuel M'boro, TN

    That's awful.. it seems the only news you hear from Tennessee lately seems to be about murders and deaths. My thoughts and prayers are with their family.

    September 8, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
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