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Wednesday Night, Jeffrey Lemke, 48, of Beech Creek Accidently Shoots Himself During Domestic Dispute

By Jesse Wood

Aug. 23, 2012. Last night, Watauga Medics, Beaver Dam First Responders and two Watauga County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a shooting call at 1099 Seminole Trail at 9 p.m. in the Beech Creek area near the Tennessee-North Carolina state line.

According to the incident resport, 48-year-old Jeffrey Lemke accidently shot himself in the thigh with a 12-gauge shotgun amidst a domestic dispute with his fiance. 

When the deputies – Chad McGuire and Paul Scott – responded to the call, Lemke was sitting at the edge of the driveway of 1070 Seminole Creek Road suffering wounds to his upper left leg. 

McGuire asked Lemke what happened.

“Mr. Lemke stated that he and Ms. [Kathy] Barker got into an argument and Ms. Barker grabbed a shotgun. Mr. Lemke then stated that he got the shotgun away from here and the shotgun accidently discharged,” the report stated. 

McGuire then spoke to Barker in the driveway. She said at 8 p.m., she was in the kitchen and Lemke was in the living room conversing. After Barker mentioned her son during the conversation, Lemke went ballistic – “yelling, screaming and throwing items throughout the residence.”

Barker went to the bedroom – after which Lemke followed, according to Barker, and “grabbed her and began throwing her across the room causing marks on her arm.” 

Then Barker said, “Why don’t you just shoot me?” and took off her engagement ring. 

Lemke, according to Barker, then grabbed a shotgun in the corner of the bedroom, banged the shotgun butt on the dresser causing the firearm to discharge. However, according to Lemke, he grabbed the shotgun away from Barker and banged the shotgun butt against the dresser causing the firearm to discharge.

Barker agreed to write a statement while Lemke, not knowing how much trouble either were in, declined to write a statement before seeking counsel. 

The house was in disarray when officers entered the home. Then McGuire informed Barker of OASIS, a domestic abuse service and women’s shelter, but she declined to seek help. 

Upon leaving the scene, the deputy filed a charge – “assault on female” – with the Watauga County Magistrate’s Office. 

No drugs or alcohol were mentioned in the report, and officers retrieved the shotgun from the residence.