Brownsville man assaulted in home invasion; 1 suspect in custody


BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. — A normal visit from a relative turned violent, according John Bell.  He said he was beaten and robbed at gunpoint early Saturday morning. Worst of all, he believes a family member set him up.

Erica Holmes is charged with especially aggravated robbery.

Around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, Bell said he was awakened by Erica Holmes.

“A relative knocked on the door,” he said. “I went to the door. I opened the door and she said she wanted to use the bathroom.”

Bell said he locked the door after letting her inside. “When I got ready to let her out, a man had a gun in my face and she ran out,” he said. “Then he came in and pistol whipped me.”

Bell said it was a black man wearing a hooded shirt who attacked him. He said the man got away with every bit of cash he had, $120 he kept in his Bible.

Bell said his attacker used a racial slur as he demanded more money.

Bell’s girlfriend, Florida West, pointed out dried blood still on his Bible.

West said after he called her, she rushed to the house and found the place a complete wreck. West said there was blood everywhere and that dishes and the television were both on the floor. As she was cleaning up the mess, she found a bullet hole in the side door.

Investigators are working to determine whether the bullet hole matches the gun used during the robbery, although Bell said he doesn’t recall hearing any shots. “I just went in shock,” Bell said. “I don’t remember. All I know I was tussling with him and he was tussling with me.”

Holmes was later taken into custody by Brownsville police on a count of especially aggravated robbery.

“When officers located her, she was intoxicated. I believe investigators did talk to her the following day,” Brownsville Assistant Police Chief Kelvin Evans said.

Bell believes his attack was planned. “It had to be a setup because I wouldn’t have let him in,” Bell said. “But I know her. She’s relation to the whole family.”

Brownsville police say right now they have no leads because Holmes is refusing to cooperate. Holmes is being held in the Haywood County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond. Her first court appearance is set for July 18.

If you have any information that could help investigators, contact Brownsville police at 731-772-1215