Man accused of kidnapping, threatening woman with gun

Becky Campbell • Jul 20, 2019 at 1:56 AM

A Johnson City man faces multiple charges after being accused of keeping his girlfriend from leaving a parking lot, putting a gun in her mouth and threatening to kill her because he thought she was cheating on him.

Christopher R. Pickering, 35, 205 Big Valley Dr., was charged Thursday with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault stemming from an incident earlier that day.

Johnson City police responded to a shots fired call on Big Valley Drive around 8:40 p.m. and talked to Christopher Lunceford, who said Pickering had fired a gun as he was leaving the area.

Pickering was in a relationship with Lunceford’s mother and had allegedly accused the woman of cheating on him. Lunceford produced a screenshot of a text message purportedly from Pickering to a friend that said, “I cocked my gun and put it in her mouth and she still wouldn’t spill the beans.” Police said Lunceford also had a text from his mother saying Pickering had threatened to blow her head off.

Police said that on Thursday, Pickering had allegedly shown up at a business where the woman was and they had a brief conversation, then she went to a grocery store on West State of Franklin Road. Pickering was reported to have followed the woman to the store, following her inside and staying with her until she went to her car. According to court documents, the woman said Pickering tried forcing her to watch a video of her getting into a vehicle, and he demanded to know who she was with. 

The woman said she got into her car, but Pickering also got in and tried to keep her from leaving. She said he pulled a gun on her, demanding to know the name of the other man he said she was seeing. She said when he pulled the gun, she tried to drive away, but Pickering grabbed the steering wheel. The woman said she began blowing her horn, but no one noticed. Because Pickering wouldn’t get out of the car, the woman said she drove to an apartment complex to pick up her other son, but before she got out of the car, she said Pickering pulled out the weapon again, held it to her head and ordered her to not move.

She said Pickering also put the gun in her mouth and threatened to kill her. When the woman’s son came toward the car, she said Pickering put the gun away and she drove back to the grocery store where Pickering’s car was located. He got out and the woman drove home.

Pickering was arrested and held on a $100,000 bond. Police also determined the weapon used in the incident was stolen.

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