NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Chelesy Eastep’s husband Landon Eastep was shot and killed by police on I-65 on January 27. The 30-year-old widow described the days since her husband’s unexpected death. “Hell – the last 5 days have been hell.”
The couple had been married less than a year.
“When I go back to that moment that I found out, I hit my knees,” said Chelesy. “I didn’t want to believe that it was real. Of course, I didn’t know all of the details or anything – It was like my heart was being ripped out of my chest.”
Her 37-year-old husband’s death was caught on bodycam by officers responding to the scene. Thursday, a state trooper saw Landon sitting on the guardrail on the side of the highway. That turned into a standoff shutting down the interstate and several officers opening fire on Landon when he pulled a “shiny silver cylindrical object” out of his pocket.
“It comes in waves,” Chelesy explained. “I’ll cry. I want to scream. I’m sad. I’m hurt. I’m angry. I’m frustrated. But at the same time, I feel like I have to hold it together or be a certain way. I feel like I have to hold it together for everybody else.”
Chelesy said the couple argued the morning of his death, and Landon battled mental health issues.
“Landon and I struggled like any normal people. This is life. It doesn’t come with an instruction manual. We were struggling through some things,” said Mrs. Eastep. “Landon was going through some mental health issues that were being addressed, but the problem with mental health is — it’s a process to get in and get that type of help. And I feel like Metro Police failed him. They failed me.”
Despite their struggles, Chelesy describes Landon as the love of her life.
“I will forever regret the last things I said to him,” Chelesy said while crying. “Our love was so much deeper than that. And he knew I loved him. He knew what we were going through, and we would have made it to the other side.”
Chelesy says she will now fight for sensitivity when it comes to dealing with those with mental health issues. She says a mental health professional should have been called to the scene within minutes of her husband’s interaction with police.
“Within the first 10 minutes, somebody should have called crisis. Somebody should have had a professional out there who knew how to handle somebody that was going through a mental crisis. There were so many options that could have been taken, that weren’t. And to me, that’s unacceptable,” Eastep explained. “I just feel like it was way too much. I feel like there were a bunch of steps that were skipped, and I feel like there is no reason for him to be dead today.”
Landon was a father of a 15-year-old son. According to Chelesy, the son’s mother also died several years ago in a car accident.
“I’ve been robbed of my happiness. I’ve been robbed of the man I was supposed to spend my forever with. I’ve been robbed of decent, human respect,” said Chelesy. “But at the end of the day, none of that matters to me cause in my heart, I know Landon and I were meant to be together, and none of what anybody has to say is going to change that.”
A funeral service will be held for Landon on Saturday at noon.
On January 28, Metro Police Chief John Drake directed that Officer Brian Murphy be decommissioned. The 25-year MNPD veteran was identified as the person who fired the final two shots from a rifle after Eastep had already hit the ground. An investigation will be launched into Murphy’s actions at the scene.