A business owner shot and killed himself during a City Council meeting Thursday night after members voted against his request to rezone his property
CLARKSVILLE, Tennessee (AP) -- A business owner shot and killed himself during a City Council meeting Thursday night after members voted against his request to rezone his property, witnesses said Ronald "Bo" Ward, owner of Bo's Barber Shop, had told the council his business would go under if he couldn't get his home rezoned as commercial. After the 5-7 vote Thursday night, Ward stood and walked toward the council.
"Y'all have put me under. ... I'm out of here," he said before shooting himself in the head with a small handgun.
Fire and police officials attending the meeting immediately ushered the audience of about 50 into the hallway, where several people were sobbing.
At least one police officer is always on duty during council meetings, officials said. However, visitors are not required to go through a metal detector or any other screening.
"When a gun gets whipped out like that, someone is going to get shot, but I didn't know who," Councilman Bill Summers said. "You could've been right next to him, and I don't think you could have stopped that."
Mayor Johnny Piper said Thursday's council meeting would be the last held in that room.
Ward had said the rezoning would increase his property value, allowing him to secure a loan to offset debt he incurred when he expanded his shop.