NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Metro Nashville Police Department handled two officer-involved shootings this weekend that left two men dead, raising questions about authorities’ use of force. News 2’s Nikki McGee spoke with a law enforcement instructor, who broke down when police have to defend their own lives.
The first incident took place during the early morning hours on Saturday, Nov. 12 in the 200 block of Gallatin Pike South in Madison.
While officers were investigating a non-critical shooting, police said a man — whose name has yet to be released — crossed the crime scene tape, pulled out a gun, and opened fire. Three officers returned fire and the man died at the scene.
News 2 reviewed the body camera footage of the shooting with JC Shegog, who served as an officer in Houston and West Memphis. Shegog now works as a security consultant, as well as a law enforcement and SWAT instructor.
“The individual crossed the police line, they told him to get his hands out of his pockets. When he finally did, he revealed a firearm,” Shegog said. “Well at that point, if he wasn’t trying to relinquish the firearm, drop the firearm, then the use of force continuum dictates that he is now a threat. And when deadly force is present, deadly force is authorized.”
Then, on Saturday night, Metro police said they were called to West Nashville for reports of a man walking along River Road Pike and throwing objects at vehicles.
According to authorities, the man found at the scene — identified as 64-year-old Drandon John Brown — charged at the two officers with a knife. He was shot and killed after police said taser deployment was unsuccessful.
Shegog said knives can be used as deadly weapons, adding that he even has scars from where a suspect once cut him during a confrontation.
“If he didn’t have a weapon, I understand using non-lethal means, less than lethal means,” the instructor explained. “But when the person has a weapon, then you have to make sure that that person cannot harm you or your fellow officers, or the general public.”
News 2 asked Shegog why officers don’t try stopping someone by shooting them in the arm or leg first.
“Because in an excited or stressful situation, it is harder to hit a smaller target than it is to hit a larger target,” he answered, “and the torso is the largest target on the body and this is what they’re trained to aim at.”
Shegog admitted members of law enforcement are often put in stressful situations, offering one final thought when reviewing officer-involved shootings.
“Most people never confronted death. Most people never confronted a harmful, dangerous situation to that degree, so it’s easy to say what they would have done or what somebody else should have done,” Shegog said. “But if you haven’t been prepared, meaning before that happens, trained to that degree, it’s usually not going to go that way.”
Both of Saturday’s officer-involved shootings in Nashville are currently under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.