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CCW permit holder shoots armed robber

Originally ran here as:
"I-40 shooting involved robbery attempt"
By SHEILA BURKE, The Tennessean Staff Writer
Friday, July 27, 2001

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE -- Wednesday night's shooting on an exit ramp on Interstate 40 east was the result of road rage that turned into a botched robbery attempt, police said.

Chaz Ellis, 24, was shot after he pulled a gun on a driver who was stopped at a red light on the I-40/Old Hickory Boulevard off- ramp in Hermitage, police said. The driver of the other car, Anthony Palazolo, 24, Hermitage, grabbed the gun away from Ellis. Palazolo then produced his own gun and shot Ellis.

Road rage between the occupants of two cars led to the confrontation at the exit, Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said.

Palazolo told police he was driving eastbound on I-40 and witnessed a 1973 white Ford LTD speeding, driving erratically and weaving in front of cars, almost to the point of running them off the interstate, Aaron said.

''We're really not sure what happened on the interstate prior to the vehicles exiting.''

The drivers of each car gave conflicting accounts.

The driver of the LTD, Jesse Bratcher, 28, told police that Palazolo was following him too closely. He told police that Palazolo made an obscene gesture at him, Aaron said. However, Palazolo denies making the gesture.

When Palazolo exited the interstate and sat at the stoplight before turning on Old Hickory Boulevard, the LTD's driver followed and stopped as well. Bratcher and Ellis cursed at Palazolo, and then Bratcher walked up to Palazolo's car and slapped him. Ellis pointed a gun at Palazolo and demanded his wallet.

Palazolo then grabbed the gun, which was cocked, pulled it away from Ellis and fired his own gun for which, police said, he has a legal permit to carry and shot Ellis.

Bratcher and Ellis fled and tried to make it to a hospital before the LTD was spotted driving wildly on I-40 west near Briley Parkway in Donelson.

DUI Officer Steve Beck stopped the car and called an ambulance. Beck noticed that Bratcher smelled like alcohol and had watery eyes, Aaron said.

Ellis was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and was listed in stable condition there last night.

The nature of his injuries was not available last night.

Police found marijuana in the trunk of Bratcher's car and gave him a breathalyzer test three hours after he was pulled over. Because of the shooting and the crime scene, police had to wait to administer the breath test, Aaron said. Bratcher registered .10%, which is legally drunk, and was charged with driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance.

There were no charges filed against Palazolo. Investigators will present the case to the Davidson County grand jury to determine whether he should be charged. Police, however, think Palazolo was the victim, Aaron said.

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