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Suspect in Simpsonville shooting remains at large

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Police have called in marshals for help

By Lisa King

A shooting suspect that police have been pursuing since Aug. 5 remains at large and is considered armed and dangerous.

The search is continuing for James Anthony Watkins, who is wanted in the shooting of a Hispanic man who was shot twice at an apartment complex in Simpsonville.

The victim, whose name has not been released, was taken to the University of Louisville, with non-life threatening injuries, police said.

Shelby County Sheriff Mike Armstrong said the motive for the shooting is not clear at this time.

“We do believe they know each other, and they did have some type of confrontation,” he said.

Police had appealed to the public for help in locating Watkins, but Shelby County Sheriff’s Det. Jason Rice said Tuesday that investigators have turned to another agency for help.

“We have called upon the U.S. Marshal’s service to help us apprehend him,” he said.

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

Officers arrived to find a man in the complex's parking lot who had been shot at least two times in the lower body.

While that man was rushed to the hospital, 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 for Watson.

At the time, Armstrong said, “We do not feel as though he is still in the vicinity of Simpsonville,” but he urges the public to stay on the lookout for him.

Watkins is wanted for first-degree assault and wanton endangerment.

Armstrong urges anyone who has any information about Watkins’ whereabouts to call law enforcement. He emphasizes that he should not be approached.

“If somebody sees him, they should not try to confront him,” he said. “He is armed with a handgun.”

Watkins, 42, is described as being 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing 210 pounds. He also goes by the nicknames of “Tony” and “G-Z.”

Anyone with information about Watkins may contact the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office at 633-4324, central dispatch at 633-2323 or Crime Stoppers at 633-4500. Tips may also be submitted online at www.shelbyclue.com.