A man is in custody and faces charges including first-degree murder after a Robertson County Sheriff's Office deputy was found slain inside her Springfield home over the weekend.
Deputy Savanna Puckett, a four-year department veteran, was found dead with a gunshot wound inside her burning home Sunday night, the sheriff's office reported. She was 22.
James Jackson Conn, 27, is charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated arson in connection to Puckett's slaying, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said.
Conn, who lives in Smyrna, was arrested at his Odom Court home about 11:30 a.m. Monday after an hourslong standoff that stemmed from the execution of a search warrant, TBI said.
Conn was acquaintance of Puckett, according to TBI. He was booked into the Robertson County Jail late Monday afternoon where he was being held without bond.
"The investigation remains active and ongoing, and we'll provide more details as soon as we're able to do so," TBI said on Twitter Monday afternoon.
Another deputy went to check on Puckett around 5 p.m. Sunday when she did not report for her shift and found her home in the 5100 block of Highway 41 in Springfield engulfed in flames, an RSCO release said. The deputy was not able to make it inside due to the extent of the fire. Once firefighters arrived, they found Puckett inside.
Puckett had multiple gunshot wounds, including ones to her head and torso, an arrest affidavit for Conn showed. Two empty lighter fluid bottles were found in Puckett's home with fingerprints matched to Conn. A .40 caliber cartridge casing was also found, the affidavit stated. Puckett's .40 caliber service weapon was not found at the scene.
It was not immediately clear if the gunshot wounds or the fire caused Puckett's death. The cause and origin of the fire remained under investigation Monday. The TBI reported it is investigating the fire and Puckett's death.
“Words cannot express the sadness and grief that Savanna’s family and her sheriff’s office family are facing right now," Sheriff Michael Van Dyke said in a statement. "This is a tragedy that we are processing minute by minute. Please keep Savanna, her family and the sheriff’s office in your thoughts and prayers."
'A BRILLIANT LIGHT': Family mourns slain Middle Tennessee deputy
The Smyrna home where law enforcement arrested Conn is in a residential area just south of Sam Ridley Parkway West.
Linda Jones, who lives in the neighborhood behind Odom Court, said she was in bed around 6:45 a.m. Monday when she heard a loud explosion.
"It just about knocked me out of bed," Jones said. "I thought it was a car accident but then about 15 to 20 minutes later I heard another one go off and then I heard a police officer on a speaker saying, 'Get out now, get out now.' He was real loud."
About 30 minutes later, the officer got on the speaker and again prompted the suspect to exit the home. Jones said she heard flashbang grenades go off and then heard what sounded like gunshots.
"It was very scary," Jones said.
Around 1 p.m. Monday, TBI agents exited the home carrying evidence bags. The glass front door was shattered and several window blinds were destroyed.
'A mother hen'
"We are all heartbroken and working to lay Deputy Puckett to rest," RCSO spokeswoman Jessica Drake said Monday.
Puckett started working for the sheriff's office as a corrections officer in 2017, when she was 18 years old, an RCSO news release said. She began working in the patrol division in May 2020 and graduated from Walter State Law Enforcement Academy that September.
"Savanna was the one who always showed up early to her shift with a smile on her face," the RCSO statement reads. "She was a mother hen to us all, and frequently cooked meals and baked goodies for her shift. She was tough, courageous, kind, compassionate and had an infectious personality that will always be remembered."
Puckett's body was escorted along Highway 41 South through Ridgetop, Greenbier and Springfield Monday afternoon. The escort ended at Springfield Memorial Gardens.
Find reporter Rachel Wegner at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @rachelannwegner.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Savanna Puckett: Deputy found shot, dead in burning Springfield home