(12/17/2001)
A member of the Roane County Emergency Squad died from a gunshot wound Sunday afternoon in the squad's parking lot. John Epling, about 60, of Spencer, was dead on arrival at Roane General Hospital from a "sucking chest wound," reportedly inflicted by a rifle.

Local police and emergency services rushed to the squad building on Arnoldsburg Road moments after the gunshot was fired. The EMS squad building is located a short distance from Roane's 911 center. At least two EMS personnel were nearby taking training when the incident occurred.

A spokesperson said the shooting occurred on or beside Epling's pick-up truck, but they could not confirm if he was on duty at the time.

The gunshot may have been accidental, according to a spokesperson, although other sources said the gunshot could have been self-inflicted. Epling had been a "casual paid" driver for several years.

Authorities are investigating the death.


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