HUMPHREYS COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – The defense team for the man accused of impersonating a Homeland Security Officer in Humphreys County after his red fox, which he claimed was a service animal, was shot and killed in New Johnsonville is speaking out.

On March 24, 2022, Tammy Ross shot and killed Lu Lu, a pet red fox belonging to Keith Rediker. According to a release from the defense team, Lu Lu reportedly escaped her pen and went to a neighbor’s house.

The release goes on to say Ross knew Lu Lu wore a pink collar and that Rediker was her owner, but she did not let Rediker on her property unless he came back with police and a warrant. Rediker was seeking answers as to why his service animal was killed. Police later arrived on scene and Rediker was arrested later that evening for criminal impersonation.

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The complaint questions why Rediker was charged with criminal impersonation. It argues that if he were impersonating a police officer, he would not have called police to escort him to Ross’ location in the first place.

Rediker is accused of “eluding to and indirectly presenting himself as someone law enforcement in nature” because he was wearing body armor, khaki cargo pants and carried a radio, but the release argues none of those items are illegal to own, possess or wear in Tennessee.

An apparent volunteer firefighter for North Robertson Fire and Rescue since March 2013, the release says Rediker is required to keep a radio near his person at all times. The release adds that he is also certified through the fire department as an emergency medical responder, along with other certificates, and reportedly has certifications through FEMA and other government and non-profit organizations.

Rediker is also a firearms instructor and is licensed by the Department of Homeland Security and the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security. As an instructor, it is his practice to wear his personal body armor when he is training students how to shoot guns for the first time.

The release says his body armor clearly says “Firearms Instructor” on the front, suggesting the phrase has no affiliation with a law enforcement agency. Furthermore, Rediker’s teams says nothing he wore represented him as part of law enforcement. When a Humphreys County Deputy questioned him asking if he was law enforcement, Rediker expressly said he wasn’t and apparently only wore the body armor after he asked the officer if he could do so since a firearm was involved, to which the officer said he could.

As for Lu Lu, the release states she was trained and certified as a support animal through USA Service Dog Registration. She was a certified PTSD service animal and was also trained in K9 search and rescue, as well as K9 explosives recognition through the USA Service Dog Registration.

Rediker was charged with criminal impersonation after Ross grew concerned that Rediker might pursue charges against her for killing Lu Lu, which, according to the release, is a permitted animal and a protected species.

Ross claims she told Rediker she fired two “warning shots” at Lu Lu. She was told foxes are elusive and timid animals and that it was “implausible” that Lu Lu would not have run away if someone fired at her.

The release argues Ross appeared to have changed her story and told responding officers Lu Lu was “attacking” her chickens.

The release also criticizes Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis for his handling of the situation and also claims Ross is a former Humphreys County employee and worked with Sheriff Davis over the years. Sheriff Davis is also accused of sensationalizing Ross’ story and claimed during an interview that Lu Lu was “killing” Ross’ chickens.

Furthermore, the release states no dead chickens were found at the scene and that Ross keeps her chickens secured in a coop or chicken pen that Lu Lu never went into. No chicken feathers, blood or any other evidence of any dead or injured chickens were found.

Rediker is waiting for a report from his veterinarian, but it appears Lu Lu was shot at an angle that suggests she was either running away or had rolled over onto her back as a sign of submission, according to the release.

It also questions that if Sheriff Davis thought Rediker was dangerous, why did he wait a full week to make his arrest public. The sheriff also reportedly threatened Rediker with additional charges and the release warns that if he or his deputies continue to “falsely arrest, maliciously prosecute, or harass Mr. Rediker, [Rediker] will have his opportunity to explain his actions as defendants in a lawsuit Mr. Rediker will file in the United States District Court.”

The release ends with the following statement:

“Mr. Rediker lost his beloved pet and service animal and wanted answers. He sought the
assistance of police and instead was targeted by them. If this can happen to a fire fighter and first
responder like Keith Rediker, it can happen to anyone, which the citizens of Humphreys County
should find highly concerning.”

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News 2 reached out to Sheriff Davis for comment on the accusations from Rediker’s defense. He tells News 2 he is sticking by his story.