A 12-year-old boy from Tennessee was taken into custody after he shot and killed his father on Saturday. Police believe that the child may have been trying to save his mother's life from the boy's aggressive dad.
The boy, who has not been named, shot his father Tommy Durham, 56, in the chest at their home in Deer Lodge, Tennessee.
According to authorities, the married couple started arguing - and the child intervened. Police are not saying if Tommy, who worked at a tobacco shop, initiated any violence towards his wife.
But police told the media that they had been called to the home five times in the past for domestic disturbances.
On Saturday night, the boy used a rifle to shoot at his father. A family member, who was not present during the shooting, called E-911 from another residence.
Authorities received at least five previous calls for service from the home involving domestic violence incidents, none of which resulted in criminal charges, according to the release.
The shooting remains under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Morgan County Sheriff's Office.
"It appears that this is going to be a situation of the juvenile coming to the defense of his mother, who was a victim in this and the other incidents of domestic violence," Johnson said.
He added that the challenge now is deciding how best to ensure the child's well-being going forward.
"We feel like this juvenile suspect needs counseling and services that could be provided in juvenile court, if he were charged in juvenile court," Johnson said. "But if he were an adult, we wouldn't charge him — it's defense of a third party."