Sevier County shooting suspect indicted on first-degree murder charge

Tennessee News

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — A Sevier County grand jury returned an indictment of first-degree murder and other related charges against the woman accused of fatally shooting another woman during an altercation in the parking lot of Soaky Mountain Waterpark in July 2021.

The suspect, Sarah Elizabeth Romine, of Knoxville is facing a first-degree murder charge, two counts of aggravated assault and five counts of reckless endangerment — all stemming from the July 31 incident in the Soaky Mountain Waterpark parking lot.

Romine had initially been arrested and charged with second-degree murder and multiple counts of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm while intoxicated after emergency crews responded to the reported shooting at Soaky Mountain Waterpark on Saturday, July 31. Sevierville Police officials believed Romine shot two victims: 24-year-old Kelsy Cook and 23-year-old Angie Russell. Cook had been flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

Police reports state Romine told officers several times that she was sorry and that she shot another woman. The male suspect, Joshua Dannels, was bleeding from his nose and EMS personnel evaluated him at the scene. Both suspects had refused treatment from paramedics. Dannels, of Crossville, was also arrested that night and charged with possession of a firearm while intoxicated.

A few weeks after the fatal shooting, the water park suspended all alcohol sales for the remainder of 2021 in an agreement with the Tennessee Alcohol Beverage Commission and the Sevierville Beer Commission following a series of dangerous alcohol-related incidents.

A park spokesperson said at the time Soaky Mountain Waterpark had hosted over 300,000 guests in 2021, and the isolated actions of a few individuals did not represent the experiences of all their guests.

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