Murderer Shoots Father During Children’s Water Balloon Fight

DA Charme Allen announces that prosecutors in the Major Crimes Unit obtained multiple convictions against a man who shot a father during a children’s water balloon fight.  Ralphelle Antre James, 49, was convicted of Second Degree Murder, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon by a Violent Felon, and Reckless Endangerment.  Judge Steve Sword set the case for sentencing on November 2 where James faces at least twenty-five to forty years to serve in the Tennessee Department of Correction without the possibility of parole.

In a five-day trial, Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Hill and Teddy Ryan explained to the jury that on May 20, 2021, Knoxville Police Department officers responded to a shooting at a housing development off MLK Avenue. The community was having a children’s water balloon game in the development when James started yelling at the victim’s child for coming to the apartment to fill water balloons because it was interrupting James’ drug dealing.  The victim yelled at James to leave his child alone, and the two argued before the victim walked away.  A few minutes later, James crossed the parking lot, approached the victim, and shot him twice, killing him.

“This senseless act of violence left a child without a father and a wife without a husband,” said DA Allen.  “During the National Day of Remembrance for Homicide Victims on Monday, we will remember this victim and all victims of violent crime.”

Second Degree Murder is a Class A felony.  Based upon James’ criminal history, he is facing between twenty-five and forty years in prison on the murder count and twelve to twenty years on the weapon count.  Assistant Victim Witness Coordinator Kara Sowards aided in the prosecution of this case.

If you have any questions, please contact Sean McDermott at 865-215-2515 or For more information about the District Attorney’s Office, visit our website at and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.