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Authorities: Country music singer killed in gunfight with bounty hunter

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. - A bounty hunter trying to detain a country music singer wanted on a DUI charge shot and killed the man in a gunfight at the singer's home, authorities said Thursday.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was looking into the circumstances of Tuesday night's shooting of 65-year-old Randy Howard, agency spokesman Josh DeVine said in an email.

Howard was a member of country music's "Outlaw" movement, which rejected Nashville's polished music in favor of a rougher sound. Howard shared the stage with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr., and has written songs for Hank Williams III, according to Howard's LinkedIn site.

Hank Williams III posted a picture on his Facebook page Thursday of him and Howard smiling together under the words, "RIP Randy Howard."

Howard had been charged with fourth-offense DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and driving on a revoked license, DeVine said. But he missed a court appearance, DeVine said.

Howard's friend Terry Dotson told Nashville TV station WSMV that he had tried to drive Howard to his court appearance, but the singer brushed him off.

"He said he wasn't going back to jail. That's what he told me," Dotson said.

On Tuesday night, bounty hunter Jackie Shell showed up at Howard's home to take him into custody, DeVine said. Howard opened fire, Shell shot back and Howard was killed, DeVine said.

DeVine said Shell was injured in the shooting, but didn't say how badly. Shell's mother, Mary Jane, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that her son underwent surgery.

When asked if authorities are investigating whether Shell had the right to enter Howard's home, DeVine said he couldn't discuss specifics, but that the "investigation includes all aspects of the incident."

Howard made seven records, including "All American Redneck" for Warner Bros. in 1983, and the self-titled "Randy Howard" for Atlantic in 1988.

He embraced the term "redneck." In an interview with the AP in 1983, he said redneck - a derogatory term for poor, white rural Southerners - doesn't have to be offensive.

"It can be positive," he said. "When I play clubs, I ask if there are any rednecks out there. I get a good response whether I'm in New York or Miami."

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