SWEETWATER, Tenn. (WATE) — A Sweetwater man is sharing his unbelievable story of survival and loss. Steven Lemke was at the scene of a deadly shooting in McMinn County over the weekend.
The McMinn County Sheriff’s Office says four people were killed, including Lemke’s fiancée. Jazzmine Hall and Curtis Smith were identified as the suspects in the shooting. They are in jail. Lemke says the violence was sudden, and he believes it centered around the baby of the female suspect and one of the victims. He survived, but now he is coping with a tough loss.
“I don’t want to go to sleep because I know it’s all going to replay, and it’s probably going to replay for the rest of my life, and I don’t want to accept it,” Lemke said.
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Just days after the shooting, Lemke is haunted by the crime.
“They started walking out the door to the truck to leave, and Jazzmine turned around and yelled at him and completely just said, ‘What are you doing? Don’t leave no one alive.’,” Lemke explained. “So I’m in the back of the camper on a bed and looking out the window kind of, I see Curtis just turn around, and next thing I know he’s stepping back into the camper, pretty much reshooting every victim twice.”
Lemke made it out alive, but not untouched. He showed us where a bullet grazed his head.
“My head was just pouring blood, and I believe that’s the reason why Curtis thought I was dead when I hit the ground, to act like I was dead, just praying that I could get out of there to try to call and get help for everybody,” he said.
Luckily, he was able to. He says his fiancée Jessie was already dead by the time he escaped. She was one of the four victims killed.
“I wish I could wake up from this nightmare, so I could roll over, tell her good morning, give her a kiss and tell her I love her,” Lemke said.
Now, he’s calling her his guardian angel – remembering her as a loving and caring person and continuing to fight for justice and peace.
“Everything that we have made plans on and dreamed about and everything, I’m going to fulfill them like she is here with me, because she is in spirit,” Lemke said. “I’m still going to do it to try to put myself at peace and try to make her happy. To know that I’m trying to fight and keep going.”
Smith and Hall were both taken into custody Saturday night on charges of first degree murder.
Curtis Smith and Jazzmine Hall appeared in court on Oct. 7 and waived their right to a preliminary hearing. The case was sent to a grand jury and their next court date is Jan. 10, 2022.
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