NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is continuing to investigate an officer-involved shooting that happened Monday night in Antioch. The shooting left a 30-year-old man dead.
However, before the shooting, police said Joshua Kersey held a hostage at knife-point.
News 2 obtained the 911 calls before officers arrived. The calls detail the moments leading up to the tense hostage negotiation and revealed Kersey suffered from mental health issues.
The shooting raises questions about mental health and how the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) responds to these kinds of calls.
The incident happened inside a home on Split Oak Trail in Antioch after police said a heated argument between family members caused Kersey’s his sister to call 911.
“He was threatening the family. He threatened harm to the police when they arrived. He was quite upset,” said MNPD Spokesperson Don Aaron.
Dispatch: “Does he have any weapons on him?”
Caller: “No ma’am.”
Dispatch: “Is anybody injured or needs an ambulance?”
Caller: “No, no one’s injured at the moment, but he does have severe mental issues.”
Minutes later in the call, the caller brought up Kersey’s mental health issues again.
Caller: “He has severe mental issues. When he drinks, he gets violent.”
On Tuesday, Metro police released the body camera footage from one of the responding officers. The video shows officers talking with Kersey, encouraging him to come out of a room where police said he was holding a hostage at knife-point.
While watching the body camera footage, you can hear threats being made on the other side of the door, presumably from Kersey.
Voice Behind the Door: “You open the door I’ll kill him…you open this door, I’ll slit his throat.”
Officer: “We’re concerned for you, alright? You’re not in trouble.”
Voice Behind the Door: “You want to call this phone? It’s going to cost you a life.”
The body camera footage goes on to show officers entering the room after hearing a struggle behind the door.
The TBI claims Kersey came at police with a large knife. However, another look at the body camera footage shows Kersey lying on the ground when he was shot.
With so many references to mental health during those initial 911 calls, why wasn’t the Partners in Care program activated?
Caller: “He hasn’t had medication in a good long time. He’s bipolar one, bipolar two, a lot of other diagnoses. He’s spent half of his life in long-term treatment facilities and I’m pretty sure he needs to be hospitalized.”
Dispatch: “Okay, do you want me to send an ambulance?”
Caller: “He’s not going to go willingly.”
In 2021, Metro launched the Partners in Care Program to help better serve individuals experiencing a health crisis and to increase safety during crisis interactions. The goal is to deploy clinicians to approach situations along with Metro police to deescalate the situation.
News 2 reached out to the Metro police to ask why a clinician was not present before the shooting. We were told MNPD will never put Partners in Care Clinicians inside dangerous situations where a suspect is armed or holding a hostage.
The full statement is below.
“The South Precinct Partners in Care (Crisis Intervention Team) was responding to a drug overdose call from approximately 8:30-10:30 p.m. last night while the situation on Split Oak Trail was evolving. They were unfortunately unavailable to assist. A team of negotiators were en route at the time of the OIS.”MNPD Spokesperson
News 2 also reached out to the Partners in Care Program for comment. We were given the following statement:
“The South Precinct Partners in Care Crisis Intervention Team, a branch of the Mental Health Cooperative, was actively responding to a drug overdose call for an extended period while the situation on Split Oak Trail was unfolding. For further inquiries on this ongoing investigation, we kindly direct all questions to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.”Mental Health Cooperative