Hearn sentencing delayed

February 20, 2009

Neal Wagner -


A 71-year-old Brooksville man who pleaded guilty last week to shooting a Columbus reserve police officer and a former Columbus City Councilman will wait a few more days to learn his fate in Lowndes County Circuit Court. 


Lennell Hearn, of 418 Marion Moore Road in Brooksville, was scheduled to be sentenced this morning for shooting reserve officer Guy Taylor and a former Columbus city councilman, Kamal Karriem.  


However, the sentencing was delayed due to pending medical concerns, according to court documents. 


“They haven’t actually set a date for the sentencing yet,” said Circuit Court clerk Teresa Barksdale. “It will probably be one day next week.” 


According to police, Hearn opened fire on Dorothy Hearn and Karriem at a gas station in the Town Square Shopping Center on 18th Avenue North on Feb. 29, 2008. It was late afternoon, and the center was filled with shoppers and restaurant goers, many of whom fled into nearby stores after the first shots were fired. 


Columbus reserve police officer Guy Taylor, who was driving out of the Hollywood Video store parking lot a few hundred feet from the gas station, responded to the scene and began exchanging gunfire with Hearn. Taylor soon was joined by several Lowndes County sheriff’s deputies and police officers, including Columbus Police Chief Joseph St. John, who was exercising in the Fitness Factor near the scene. 


During the gunfight, Hearn shot Taylor in the torso, dropping the officer to the ground. After shooting at the officers for several seconds, Hearn stole a CPD patrol car and fled to the BancorpSouth parking lot on Highway 45 North. From there, the suspect led police on a foot chase to the parking lot of the Best Western hotel on Highway 45, where CPD Lt. Keith Worshaim shot Hearn in the neck. 


Though four people were shot during the incident, they all survived.