Soaky Mountain Waterpark parking lot shooting: What state agencies say about alcohol, firearms

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SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — After police arrested two suspects believed to be directly involved with the July 31 deadly shooting in the parking lot of a Sevier County water park, questions regarding state law, alcohol and firearms were raised. The park serves alcohol and possessing a firearm while intoxicated is prohibited.

Sevierville Police responded to the reported shooting incident Saturday night, after which they said one woman died while another woman was injured after a physical altercation-turned-shooting in the parking lot Soaky Mountain Waterpark. Both women were from Loudon, Tenn.

Two suspects, 31-year-old Sarah Romine and 30-year-old Joshua Dannels were arrested at the scene. Romine was charged with second-degree murder and multiple counts of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm while intoxicated; Dannels was charged with possession of a firearm while intoxicated. SPD believes Romine shot both victims — one victim was shot in the leg, while the other victim was shot in the neck, which ultimately resulted in her death.

Police arrest warrants from the shooting state both suspects had consumed “several alcoholic beverages at Soaky Mountain.”

Alcoholic Beverages Violations

The Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the state agency that regulates, educates and enforces Tennessee’s alcoholic beverage laws, shared that prior to the deadly shooting July 31, the Sevierville Police Department had responded to eight alcohol-related incidents at Soaky Mountain Waterpark between June 1 – July 15, 2021.

The alcohol-related incidents at the park that police responded to involved patrons of the park; ranging from an intoxicated male rolling down the hill adjacent to the park and domestic disturbances, fights – all believed to have been fueled by alcoholic beverage consumption.

(Image via report shared by Alcoholic Beverage Commission regarding Soaky Mountain Waterpark citation)

The state agency issued the water park a citation on July 23 for failure to maintain the establishment’s compliance with state and local ordinances related to alcohol service. The citation led to a fine of $1,500.

On Tuesday, Soaky Mountain Waterpark’s general manager Dave Andrews released the following statement regarding the citation:

“The safety of our staff and guests is always our top priority. Because of this, we are continually reviewing all of our operational policies and making adjustments to them to ensure that everyone enjoys Soaky in a responsible manner.”

Permitless Carry Law

WATE 6 On Your Side reached out to the City of Sevierville to inquire about the two suspects’ current firearm carry licensing if any. The city said on Tuesday they did not have that information. The state’s new permitless carry law that went into effect July 1 prohibits the possession of a firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Both suspects in the deadly shooting incident were charged with possession of a firearm while intoxicated.

Most adults in Tennessee can now open or conceal carry a handgun without a permit; however, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued guidance noting that people should consult with legal counsel in case there is something unique or specific to a jurisdiction contained in the statute.

What’s Next

Both suspects in the incident are expected to appear in court at a later time. Romine was arraigned in court on Monday and her next court appearance is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 27. Dannels‘ arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 15.

WATE 6 On Your Side also reached out to the water park about its operating hours, they said their hours were unchanged.

This is a developing story. Download the WATE 6 News app for updates sent to your phone

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