If shooting victim Jeff Chisholm hadn’t returned to a friend’s cabin near Frankford to get his shoes, he might be alive today.
A probable cause statement from two officers of the Pike County Sheriff’s Office about the Aug. 31 shooting death of Chisholm, said he fled the home on Pike County Road 56 in a vehicle after a family altercation, but returned to retrieve his shoes.
That’s when Chisholm, 22, of St. John, had his alleged fatal encounter with his father, Michael Lee Phillips, 45, also of St. John. Phillips remains in the Pike County Jail on a $200,000 cash-only bond. He was arraigned Wednesday, Sept. 4 in Pike County Circuit Court on a charge of second-degree murder.
Phillips is scheduled to appear in court again at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11 for announcement of his attorney.
The probable cause statement revealed an unfolding scene of violence that led to Chisholm’s death. Both the victim and his father had been drinking, according to Sheriff Stephen Korte.
The incident started when Chisholm and his girlfriend got in an argument on the front porch and “he head butted her in the face,” according to the statement.
Chisholm’s mother came outside and told him to calm down, whereupon he retrieved his car keys and attempted to leave. Chisholm’s mother tried to physically stop him from driving because he had been drinking and a struggle ensued, the statement said.
Chisholm’s mother was knocked to the ground and Phillips stepped into the fray. The father and son were separated and Chisholm made it to his car and started the engine, the statement said.
Phillips continued to argue with his son through the driver’s-side window of his car and allegedly said:
“You’re a no good piece of (expletive), and if I see you at home, I will shoot you.”
Chisholm then backed up his vehicle and pulled forward toward his father who was standing next to a Ford Explorer, the statement said.
Chisholm’s car smashed into the Explorer and then into some metal objects on the ground. He then backed up and tore the rear bumper off his vehicle, the statement said.
Chisholm then drove around the rear of the cabin and left on Pike 52.
A short time later, Chisholm drove back to the residence, got out and walked to the front door. Once there he banged on the door and said he wanted his shoes.
The victim’s girlfriend then threw his shoes out the back door where his vehicle was parked.
Shortly after Chisholm stopped banging on the door, two gunshots were heard coming from the front porch by the witnesses, the statement said.
After the first shot, Chisholm’s mother said she saw her husband and son struggling on the front porch. She then saw a hole in her son’s back with blood coming out of it, the statement said.
She then reported to police that she saw a second muzzle flash at approximate shoulder height on the right side of her son’s body.
The mother said her husband and son fell with Phillips on top and Chisholm on the bottom, yelling that he had been shot, the statement said.
The men continued to struggle on the front porch with the gun in between them, the mother told officers. She said she told her husband to let go of the gun and then went over and took it out of his hand.
The statement also included interview information from Phillips.
The accused said when his son returned for his shoes, he was trying to stop him from getting through the front door of the cabin. Phillips said Chisholm pushed him out of the way and was banging on the front door when Philllips retrieved his .40 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun from the porch and displayed it to Chisholm.
Phillips said his son then yelled at him, “Are you going to (expletive) shoot me now or what?”
He then admitted to police that he pointed the gun to the right side of his son and fired “a warning shot,” the statement said.
Phillips said he then attempted to turn and run from the scene but a struggle ensued.
“Mike said he still had the gun and it went off a second time,” officers reported.
“What can I say. He came at me, so I had to shoot him,” Phillips told the officers, according to the statement. “I didn’t want to, but I had no other choice.”
Pike County ambulance emergency personnel responded to the scene and found Chisholm unresponsive on the porch, the statement said.
“I saw a small hole at the base of the neck/upper chest region of Jeff,” an EMT told officers. “The bullet passed through the body and exited through Jeff’s back.”
One of the officers at the scene said he found “several firearms located on the front porch,” and seized four handguns as evidence. There was also a shotgun and a rifle on the front porch, the statement said.
Only one of the handguns was loaded, an officer reported, a semi-automatic .40 caliber Smith and Wesson found on a rocking chair on the front porch.
“The gun was cocked and ready to fire,” the statement said. There were 14 rounds left in a 16-round magazine.