Family of Melissa Horton searches for answers after fatal deputy-involved shooting

Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 10:51 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BARTLETT, Tenn. (WMC) - A search for answers is on and a family is grieving after 43-year-old Melissa S. Horton was shot and killed in an encounter with Shelby County deputies Saturday.

Horton, a Brownsville resident, was killed after she was stopped by Shelby County deputies after a domestic dispute earlier that day.

Two days later, her family and friends are questioning how it all happened.

“This is the saddest thing,” said Horton’s fiancé Preston Morris. “You say it can’t happen to you. It’s not gonna happen to you. It will never happen to me, but it can happen and it’s happening all over the country and all over Memphis.”

Horton and her fiancé Preston Morris were to be married in July.

Morris says he and Horton got into an “altercation” early Saturday.

Melissa Horton and her fiancé, Preston Morris.
Melissa Horton and her fiancé, Preston Morris.(Family)

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office says they responded to a domestic violence call at their home, where they say Horton pulled a shotgun on her fiancé and struck him in the head with it.

She took off and deputies put out a broadcast to other agencies.

“She, of course, when you’ve been drinking, you don’t want to go to rehab and stuff,” said Morris. “But we got into an altercation. She left the house mad and everything else, it’s questionable what happened after that.”

Shelby County deputies spotted Horton’s car and stopped her on Ellis Road near Golden Valley Lane in Bartlett.

Shots were fired and Horton was killed, according to the TBI.

What happened between the stop and the shooting remains a mystery.

Horton’s family and friends like Kristin Rhea are devastated for the mom of three girls and soon-to-be bride who loved her family, Ole Miss football, and her dog Scarlett.

“She was a good mom,” Rhea said. “She loved her girls. But there are many questions that we have that we want answers to, and I think the truth needs to come out, and I want it to come out, and a lot of people want to know what really happened.”

Action News 5 asked the TBI if Horton was armed in her car or fired at deputies. They told us the investigation is active and ongoing and the information reported over the weekend is the extent of what they can say.

“Her birthday falls on Easter Sunday,” said Morris. “We bought this beautiful dress for her to wear to Easter Sunday church services, and it’s just tragic that this happened, and she can’t even wear it. She was one of a kind. She’s unreplaceable. The beautiful soul that she had.”

Click here to sign up for our newsletter!

Click here to report a spelling or grammar error. Please include the headline.