Robert Wilson intervened after he saw Donavous Jerome Drennon allegedly holding a puppy by the throat, according to Wilson's fiancée

By Jeff Truesdell
August 06, 2018 04:40 PM
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A Tennessee man is in jail accused of murder after police say he shot another man who had stepped in to stop his alleged mistreatment of a dog, PEOPLE confirms.

Robert “Rob” Wilson, 37, intervened after he saw 35-year-old Donavous Jerome Drennon allegedly holding a Yorkshire Terrier puppy by the throat, Wilson’s fiancée, Sue Hoskins, told the Mufreesboro Daily News Journal.

“Mr. Wilson said something to Mr. Drennon about how he was carrying his dog, and as a result, somehow it ended up with Drennon pulling a gun and shooting Mr. Wilson,” Smyrna Police Sgt. Bobby Gibson tells PEOPLE.

The altercation took place about 10 p.m. on July 27 at the Uptown Suites, an extended stay hotel in Smyrna, Gibson says.

Hoskins, who was staying with Wilson at the hotel while the couple searched for an apartment in the area, said that on July 27 her phone rang with a call from Wilson, who told her that he could see a man holding a dog by its throat, she told the Daily News Journal.

“I dropped my phone and went running out there to see Rob saying, ‘Why are you doing that?’ ” she recalled, “and the guy said it was his puppy, and he just shot him.”

Wilson was struck in the chest and the suspect fled, police said in a news release.

“All I could do was try to stop the bleeding,” Hoskins said. Wilson later was pronounced dead at a hospital from his injuries.

Donavous Jerome Drennon
Smyrna Police Department

Descriptions and interviews with witnesses allowed authorities to issue a warrant for Drennon, who contacted police and turned himself in on July 31, says Gibson.

He says police turned up no evidence to document the animal’s alleged abuse. “That was just a story that came out through social media,” he says. “There was no other reason [for the shooting] other than there was a disagreement over how the dog was being handled.”

Records show that Drennon, of Nashville, is being held at the Rutherford County Jail in lieu of a $200,000 bond and has not yet entered a plea to the charge of first-degree murder.

An attorney for him was not identified. He is scheduled to be in court on Tuesday.

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In Wilson’s obituary, his family wrote that he “was senselessly murdered … trying to protect an animal from cruelty.”

That sentiment was repeated in a GoFundMe fundraising page created by Wilson’s brother, Matt, who wrote that he “was just like his mother, an animal advocate.”

The Yorkshire terrier was taken to the Rutherford County PAWS adoption center, which was able to identify an owner and return the animal, a spokesman for the center tells PEOPLE.

Hoskins’ fiancé would have fought “100 times over” to save an animal in need, she told the Daily News Journal.

Matt’s fiancée, Jennifer Matzek, told the paper: “We feel like Rob is kind of a part of that dog now, since he died to save it.”