A father and his 8-year-old son are dead after what Maryville police are calling a murder-suicide.
The Maryville Police Department was called to a home on Savannah Village Drive just before 9:30 a.m. for a report of a house fire, according to Chief Tony Crisp. A home inspector, who was scheduled to inspect if for an upcoming sale, reported the fire.
Firefighters broke down the door and found a small fire inside a bedroom and a heavy smell of gasoline.
Inside the bedroom, they found James Reagan, 38, and his 8-year-old son, Clark. Both were in the bed with gunshot wounds. James Reagan died about an hour later. Clark was taken to UT Medical Center where he was pronounced dead around noon.
Police say the incident appears to be a murder-suicide. Autopsies are scheduled as part of the investigation.
Maryville City Schools say James Reagan was a first grade teacher at Foothills Elementary where the boy also attended. The child’s mother is a teacher at Sam Houston Elementary.
“Words cannot express our overwhelming sense of devastation and grief,” read a statement from the school system. “Our hearts are also broken for our colleague, friend, and the loving mother of this young victim.”
Counseling services for students will be available between 9 a.m. and noon on Tuesday in the library of Montgomery Ridge Intermediate, 835 Montgomery Lane.
Amy Martinez, a mother of a child who had Reagan as his first grade teacher, said the loss of Reagan and his son was affecting her family. She said Maryville is a small town, so the loss had a big effect on the community.
Martinez said her son was already brought up the death of the father and son.
It was the toughest conversation she’s had with her son.
“He asked ‘how did they die?’ and he asked ‘why?’ and I don’t have those answers,” Martinez said.
She said that a Facebook post from Clark’s mother helped her answer her son and focus on what matters.
Porche Winn, a therapist with the Helen Ross McNabb Center, said parents should wait until their children ask them about what happened.
If they ask, she said tell them the truth.
“Be open, be willing to say ‘I don’t know’ or to answer whatever it is they’re asking you, to be supportive of your child. Children grieve in totally different ways than adults do,” Winn said.
The Green Meadows Swim Team also sent condolences to the Talley/Reagan family. Clark was a swimmer on the team, according to a post.
The statement said the following: “We are at a loss for words at the passing of one of our own swimmers this morning. Clark was always smiling, happy, and a wonderful friend to so many on our team. Please keep his family in your thoughts and pray for them if you pray. We will be having a moment of silence tomorrow to remember Clark and will be planning something else to honor him in the coming weeks.”
GMST said practice Thursday night will be canceled so swimmers and coaches can attend Clark’s funeral service.