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Man arrested in Simpsonville shooting

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Sought since August, he is found in Shelby

By Lisa King

A Shelbyville man wanted in connection with a shooting last summer has been arrested after eluding several police agencies and even federal marshals.
James Anthony Watkins, 41, was arrested Friday after he was identified in August as a suspect in the shooting of an Hispanic man, who was shot twice in the stomach at an apartment complex in Simpsonville.

Watkins is charged with first-degree assault and first-degree wanton endangerment.

Shelbyville Police Det. Jesse Paulley said he arrested Watkins on Friday night shortly before 9 a.m. in downtown Shelbyville.

“He was hiding in an apartment on Main Street,” Paulley said.

On Aug. 5, Shelby County Central Dispatch had received a call just before noon about a shooting at the Meadowridge Apartment Complex off Buck Creek Road, just south of U.S. 60.

Officers arrived at the complex's parking lot to find a man who had been shot at least two times in the lower body. Police have not released the shooting victim’s name.

He was rushed to the hospital and eventually recovered, but a massive search began for the suspect, which included evacuating the residents of the complex for a couple of hours while police searched the premises.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office was in charge of the investigation and called in federal marshals to help locate Watkins and even appealed to the public.

Paulley said after recently receiving a tip on Watkins’ whereabouts, Shelbyville P.D. detectives quickly devised a plan to catch up to him.

“Surveillance was the key,” he said. “I watched that place for over a week.”

Watkins is lodged at the Shelby County Detention Center under a $50,000 bond.