Influx of responders helped crack explosion case

This week, law enforcement had a lot on their hands following a deadly explosion that killed a couple on Vance Lane in Lebanon.
Feb 15, 2014

This week, law enforcement had a lot on their hands following a deadly explosion that killed a couple on Vance Lane in Lebanon.

Following the explosion that took place Monday afternoon, countless responders from several agencies at federal, state and local levels turned up to provide input and expertise in any way and help bring the investigation to a resolution.

Following a three-day probe, authorities said Richard Dean Parker, 49, of Lebanon, was responsible for the explosive device that killed his in-laws, Jon Setzer, 74, and Marion Setzer, 72. Parker was indicted on two counts of felony first-degree murder, two counts of premeditated first-degree murder and one count of unlawful possession of a prohibited weapon.

Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan, throughout the week and following Parker’s arrest, attributed the success of the investigation to those who stepped in and stepped up on the case, including Wilson County sheriff’s investigators, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents, federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents, state fire marshal officials, Wilson County Emergency Management Agency officials, Lebanon Public Safety officers and 15th district attorney’s office investigators.

“The collaborative efforts of all of these agencies and the hundreds of individuals working tirelessly throughout the last few nights have resulted in the arrest of the person responsible for this crime,” Bryan said.

Bryan commended all those responders involved and said the investigation would not have had the outcome it did without everyone’s hard work.

“Every agency had a part in that investigation, following all leads, working tirelessly,” Bryan said. “Everyone had their part to do, and when everyone does their part and has one focus of finding out what happened you get the man responsible for this in jail where he belongs.”

Bryan was also grateful for the speed and accuracy of those who worked the case.

“It’s great that this is solved, and we got to a conclusion as quick as we did. I think it definitely will put the general public more at ease,” Bryan said. “Anytime you have that much press coverage on something, you are going to have fear instilled in people, and we had a whole lot of press on this, not just here, but across country, and I think that sparked interest in people in this case, and got it out there more.”

Illana Tate, executive officer with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said the circumstances surrounding the case definitely attracted more media agencies, more eyes and more responders to get on board and help.

“At the end of the day the Setzer case was a homicide, a local, tragic homicide. But what makes it special or bizarre is the method of it, that there was an explosive device,” Tate said. “And at the end of the day, it’s someone who appears to have had the motive to end lives. If the same thing happened, but they were shot or a knife was used, I don’t think the case would’ve gained as much interest.”

Tate said the high-risk situations the case brought about also had more responders willing to take a look and help out to get the investigation solved as quickly as possible.

“As law enforcement officials, we’re going to respond in force to an explosion or anything that has the potential to have high risk to a lot of people, like an instance of an active shooter in malls or schools,” Tate said. “With something like that – an explosive device, an active shooter – you’re always going to see law enforcement respond at a federal, state and local level.”

Simply put, Tate said the explosive, something that is not seen everyday, ultimately drew more attention to the case and allowed an influx of investigators to work on and see the case and, in turn, come to a quick resolution.

“In this case, because of the explosive, that’s why you saw the enormous response that you did,” Tate said. “Anytime you have an explosive, or a biohazard or something that possibly puts more people at risk, you’re going to see a lot of federal, state and local responders from all over.”

Though a plethora of responders turned out, Tate said the collaborative efforts of everyone together eventually is what sealed the case.

“It’s always going to be a joint effort between all agencies,” Tate said. “The more people and resources you have and use, the faster you can get a suspect.”

The specialized agencies that came in to help also played a huge role, Tate said.

“That’s why you have federal agencies that specialize in different areas. In this case, the ATF handled a lot of the crime scene processing because of their expertise in the field we were dealing with, and that’s another place where the joint effort came in,” Tate said. “In these cases you have no idea initially until you whittle down and follow all leads. It takes everyone, including the public, to call in and follow up on everything. Hopefully with all of these people you get more things contributed and get enough probable cause for an arrest.

“So anytime there are instances like an active shooter, biohazard or anything high risk with a lot of people that could potentially be in danger, you’re going to get an influx of responders.”

Bryan also attested to the overwhelming response.

“Anytime you get a call for an explosion, it’s something you don’t get everyday, especially with the rumors surrounding this case and what not. It caught the interest of people nationally,” Bryan said. “With the Sheriff’s Office, we have resources we can call in, as far as when we got to the scene and saw we needed experts. And the good thing is they all came.”

On the tremendous amount of support the case received from responders, Bryan again said the case wouldn’t have been the same without the eyes and ears of every individual involved.

“All agencies were represented in this case. And what you get when you get everyone working together like that is good police work,” Bryan said.

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