The man identified as the shooter in a murder-suicide near Cottonwood late Sunday night, which left three people dead and another wounded, was being actively sought by authorities prior to the shooting after he allegedly called police last week and threatened to harm one of the people who he ended up killing.
Sheriff Donald Valenza said 45-year-old Chris Joyner broke into a house and killed two people and shot another person before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life.
Houston County Coroner Robert Byrd said he pronounced Joyner and his wife, 43-year-old Mary Alice Joyner, dead at the home on Zachary Road around 6:30 a.m. Monday. Byrd said he found both Christopher and Mary Joyner in the bedroom of the home.
Byrd said Mary Joyner worked as the director of the Ozark/Dale County Family Service Center.
Valenza said Chris Joyner also fatally shot 33-year-old Cottonwood resident Jeffery Brett Swisher. He said the only survivor of the shooting was 74-year-old Alice Carole Swisher, who was listed in guarded condition at a local hospital.
Valenza said deputies first received a 911 emergency call with a report of a man being disorderly at a home on Zachary Road. He said the caller then told authorities the man was breaking into the home. He said the 74-year-old Swisher made the 911 call while hiding inside a closet in the home.
Authorities had been looking for Joyner prior to the shooting after his bail was revoked for allegedly violating a protection order brought against him by one of the shooting victims.
Valenza said the shooting happened at a home on Zachary Road, a dirt road off Houston County Road 33 between the Hodgesville community and Cottonwood.
Valenza said authorities had been looking for Joyner for most of the weekend after a bail revocation on a pending criminal charge was filed on Friday.
Court records show Joyner was wanted by local authorities as a fugitive from justice in connection to the violation of a protection order. Deputies with the Houston County Sheriff’s Office arrested Joyner on March 7 for violation of a protection order.
Last Friday, District Court Judge Benjamin Lewis issued an alias warrant for Joyner’s arrest, granting a request by prosecutors to revoke Joyner’s bail on the protection order violation.
“The revocation was taken out Friday and they were trying to find him during the weekend,” Valenza said. “He’d been hiding out and running.”
Joyner was released from custody at the Houston County Jail on March 7 after posting the $500 bail for the violation of the protection order.
Records show prosecutors filed to request to revoke Joyner’s bail last Thursday based on his alleged continued harassing, threatening and stalking of the victim of the protection order. ‘
The revocation request said Joyner apparently called the Cottonwood Police Department on Thursday, telling them he was across the street from the victim’s house in a field, and he threatened to inflict serious bodily injury to either himself or both himself and the victim.
Court records show Joyner to be a five-time convicted felon.
Records show Houston County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Joyner in 2005 and charged him with two felony counts first-degree burglary. He pleaded guilty to reduced charges of two felony counts of second-degree burglary in 2006. Records show Joyner received a split 20-year sentence with three years to serve in prison followed by three years of probation.
Records show Joyner had three prior felony convictions, which included felony first-degree theft of property in Houston County and two more in Geneva County, which included possession of a short barreled shotgun and first-degree possession of marijuana.