SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) – Spring Hill Officers exercised amazing restraint as they confronted a man who took his wife hostage at gunpoint then dared officers to kill him.
Both Spring Hill Officers were wearing body cams as this drama unfolded.
It happened in the Williamson County side of Spring Hill just before 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Spring Hill Police Officers Tommy Barber and Sgt. David Kloke responded to a suicidal subject and a scream for help.
The officers rang the bell and there is no answer. They banged on the door and then heard a faint scream for help.
On-body cam, you can hear officer Tommy Barber on alert. “That’s screaming.”
The veteran officer kicked the door multiple times, making entry. They rushed into the entryway and listened, shouting Spring Hill Police.
From somewhere in the back of the home, a woman’s cries could be heard. With guns drawn, the two officers rushed to the master bedroom.
That’s where the officers found 59-year-old Dennison Gove, who is in the bathroom, wrestling his 54-year-old wife for a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun.
You can hear the wife yell to the cops, “he won’t put the gun down.”
The cops made a tactical advance toward the armed man shouting for him to put the weapon down and surrender.
According to officers, Gove had a loaded .45 and he wanted the officers to shoot him.
Repeatedly, in calm voices, both officers talked to the distraught man.
“Hey hey let us talk to you,” you hear them say over and over.
Lt. Justin Whitwell says the two officers acted professionally and with great restraint.
“He wanted to be killed. He was communicating that to the officers. We never want to be put in that situation to take someone’s life.”
Again the two officers implored the man, still holding the gun and wrestling with his wife, to surrender.
At no point in this confrontation did Gove raise his weapon toward the officers, but throughout, he had it dangerously close to his wife, who was in serious jeopardy.
She also imploreed him several times to stop.
At one point, Gove says to the officers standing five feet away, “You guys have a clear shot!”
Both officers responded that they didn’t want to take it.
Lt Whitwell says this easily could have initiated a shootout with the officers forcing their hand to kill the man.
“That’s right. It’s stress, that’s it. We train for these types of situations.”
By this time, SRT officers arrived. The officers continued trying to calm the situation verbally, but eventually, SRT officer Andy Burdett moves toward the gunman.
Tommy Barber follows, pointing his weapon inches from the suspect’s temple.
There’s confusion as a gunshot fires. The shot came from Gove’s weapon and the one bullet hit the floor.
Thankfully nobody was hurt.
Police quickly grabbed the gun and arrested the 59-year-old.
Justin Whitwell says the public doesn’t usually get to see how volatile the life of a police officer is, going from nothing to something in the blink of an eye.
“Yeah, that’s it. Our job is a split-second decision, we have to determine what is going on and react.”
Gove is in the Williamson County Jail charged with reckless endangerment.
Officers say the couple only recently moved into the neighborhood.