published Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Ringgold residents were wary of neighbor who shot teen during burglary

RINGGOLD, Ga. — It's now more clear how 17-year-old Dalton McConathy wound up dead Monday afternoon, shot, police say, by 69-year-old Fred Steven Youngblood outside Youngblood's Post Oak Road home.

McConathy and two others -- a 16-year-old male and 18-year-old Ansley Chrnalogar -- were looking for scrap metal at Youngblood's home, said Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk.

It was a fatal mistake.

And in spite of that shooting -- or maybe because of it -- Youngblood answered his front door Wednesday afternoon, gun in hand.

"You need to leave right now," he told a Times Free Press reporter.

Youngblood said nothing about Monday's incident, even with a bit of police tape dangling nearby, a tangible reminder. As of Wednesday evening, Youngblood had not been charged in the death.

"You're still standing here," he said a few moments later. "And I told you to leave."

Jenny Stone, Youngblood's neighbor across the street, said that behavior wasn't unusual.

"We were specifically told that if we go the door, he is liable to come to the door with a gun in hand," she said.

Stone and her family have lived across from Youngblood for three years. She and Youngblood have never spoken to one another. In fact, she didn't know his name until this week.

"He's really quiet, and he stays to himself," she said.

Prior to this week, the Stones' only interaction with Youngblood was after their dogs went into his yard, and he shot at them. Her husband went to talk to him.

"He said 'That was a warning. Next time, I won't miss,'" Stone said. But, she added, according to Catoosa County property laws, "he had every legal right to do that."

It was unsettling, but she said the family has never felt threatened or in danger. Not as long as they respect Youngblood's property and stay off of it.

That's a lesson chiseled in stone after Monday.

And it's a lesson McConathy purchased with his life.

There's debate among McConathy's relatives and friends whether the teens were actually trying to leave the property -- or were in Youngblood's house when he shot.

According to the initial Catoosa County Sheriff's Office report, Youngblood heard two of the teens in his home, grabbed his pistol and went to confront them. He reportedly went to the back of the house and told the two male teens to "stay still." But "they ran towards him and he shot at them," the report stated.

Sisk said something similar Tuesday. He said Youngblood walked outside around the back of the house with his pistol and ordered the teens to get out of his house. They reportedly ran toward Youngblood, who felt threatened, and he fired the fatal shot, Sisk said.

Sisk said Youngblood "was definitely physically upset when we told him" that McConathy died from the wound.

But some critics of Youngblood question whether the teens were exiting the house, exactly as they were ordered, when they were fired upon. And there are questions about whether Georgia's gun laws protect this sort of "stand your ground" shooting.

The law states that a shooter is justified only if he feels the use of force is necessary to prevent "death or great bodily harm" or "the commission of a forcible felony" against himself or others.

Sisk said authorities are trying to determine if Youngblood found himself in one of those scenarios.

"We're only the second day into the investigation," he said Tuesday. He couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

The two teens who accompanied McConathy were arrested. Information about the 16-year-old is unavailable. Chrnalogar faces attempted burglary charges.

The investigation into Youngblood's actions is ongoing.

And McConathy's funeral services are this evening.

Contact staff writer Alex Green at agreen@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731.

about Alex Green...

Alex Green joined the Times Free Press staff full-time in January 2014 after completing the paper's six-month, general assignment reporter internship. Alex grew up in Dayton, Tenn., which is also where he studied journalism at Bryan College. He graduated from Rhea County High School in 2008. During college, Alex covered the city of Graysville and the town of Spring City for The Herald-News. As editor-in-chief of Bryan College's student news group, Triangle, Alex reported on ...

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