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Victim kills robber, case to go to grand jury

Originally ran here as:
"Grand Jury to hear facts in shooting"
by Claudia Johnson
November 06, 2001

GILES COUNTY, TENNESSEE -- It will be up to a Giles County Grand Jury to decide whether a Giles County man will face charges for shooting another man to death during an alleged robbery attempt.

Giles County Sheriff Eddie Bass said that 52-year-old Clarence "Shorty" Walls fired a handgun that killed Alberto Ravel, 22, as Ravel and another man attempted to rob Walls near Coastal Lumber Company last Friday morning.

Ravel died at the scene and the second man fled on foot. Both men were wearing ski masks, the sheriff said.

A suspect was later picked up on the job at Coastal Lumber Company but denied being Ravel's accomplice in the holdup attempt. The suspect, according to Bass, is an illegal immigrant. Authorities are withholding the man's name, but the Immigration and Naturalization Service has been notified.

"We are still investigating whether this man was the accomplice," Bass said. "We're holding him until we determine if we will be able to charge him. Anyway, the INS will be picking him up."

Bass said his investigators found a spot in the woods where the two men had been hiding, lying in wait for Walls who was dumping scrap lumber in a fill space shortly before 6 a.m. Friday. Walls told officers the two men suddenly appeared out of the woods with masks on their faces, and one of them pulled a handgun on him.

That's when Walls fired his own .22 caliber magnum, killing Ravel. Bass said Walls drove to a home on Providence Road and asked that law enforcement officials be notified.

"In my opinion, Mr. Walls acted totally in self defense," the sheriff said. "It was a very rural area, just before daylight. He acted exactly as I would have."

The facts of the case will be presented to the grand jury, which meets next week.

Ravel was a former employee of the lumber company who reportedly lived in Lawrenceburg.

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