Suspect Failed Background Check to Buy Gun – Used a Hatchet Instead to Kill Man, Police Say (VIDEO)

A man who was denied a gun purchase because he couldn’t pass a background check instead used a hatchet to carry out his crime, which left a man dead.

Domenic Micheli was fired from his job at Balance Training gym in Belle Meade, Tennessee last year, and still held a grudge against his former boss, Joel Paavola.

On June 4, he entered the gym with a hatchet and attacked Paavola with it and a smaller weapon, believed to be a knife. Paavola died en route to the hospital.

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Micheli went on the run, but was arrested several days later, and confessed to the crime. Investigators then learned that four days before the crime, he went to a local gun store and tried to purchase a firearm, only to be denied because he failed a background check.

He was so intent on carrying out the crime, however, that he resorted to more primitive weapons.

The Tennesseean reports.

A man police say used a hatchet and knife to kill his former employer at a Belle Meade gym last week had unsuccessfully tried to purchase a firearm days before, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Domenic Micheli, 36, is charged with criminal homicide in the killing of Joel Paavola, 46.

The crime took place around 6:55 a.m. June 4 at Balance Training on Harding Pike while Paavola, who owns the business, was assisting clients.

On Tuesday, acting TBI director Jason Locke said that Micheli had attempted to purchase a gun May 30, four days before the killing, but failed to pass the required TBI background check.

“Had he had that handgun, there could have been a whole lot more casualties at that gym that day that occurred,” Locke said.

No others in the gym were injured during the crime, at which time police say Micheli came into the gym with hatchet in one hand and a knife in another.

Joel Paavola, the victim

Locke declined to say why Micheli wasn’t cleared to purchase the firearm, which is determined through a near-instant background check Tennessee gun dealers are required to perform, but noted that TBI “saw some things” and turned down the purchase.

Micheli had attempted to purchase the gun in Williamson County, Locke said.

Following a nearly two-day manhunt, Micheli was taken into custody the night of June 5 in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

A citizen tip led to his arrest Tuesday night by troopers with the Kentucky State Police.

Inside the Prius police believe he used to flee the scene, authorities on Tuesday found a hatchet, a large knife and blood.

Micheli was returned to Nashville on Friday and is being held in jail without bond.

Here is local news coverage detailing Micheli’s erratic behavior prior to the murder.

Before Micheli walked in to Balance Training on Monday with a hatchet and knife in each hand, as authorities say, he had been an employee of the business.

More than a year earlier — around 14 months ago, others at the gym told investigators at the scene of the homicide Monday — Paavola had fired Micheli from the business.

Don Aaron, spokesman for Nashville police, said Micheli’s firing was “due to his attempting to steer clients to another competing facility that he was supposedly contemplating starting.”

Micheli had been hired as a trainer around the time Paavola started the fitness facility roughly five years ago.

Upon being interviewed by detectives from Nashville police’s West Precinct, Micheli “admitted in detail” to the killing, Aaron said.

Police haven’t said what a possible motive was for the killing.

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