Suspect shot, killed after police pursuit in east Tennessee

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JOHNSON CITY (WJHL) – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said 47-year-old Buford Shane Whitson of Elizabethton was shot and killed by Carter Sheriff’s Office deputies following a pursuit Monday night.

Sheriff Dexter Lunceford tells News Channel 11 just before 7:30 p.m. deputies spotted Whitson in a small Saturn near West G. Street in Elizabethton and attempted to pull him over because of outstanding warrants.

Sheriff Lunceford said that Monday, just after 12:30 pm., the Carter County Sheriff’s Office responded to 135 Big Springs Road to a domestic disturbance involving an armed suspect. Angela Whitson told deputies that her husband, Buford Shane Whitson, had a gun and hit her in the face.

Whitson said that after she was assaulted, her husband left the house with a revolver saying he wanted to shoot deputies when they came and that he wanted to die. He reportedly went into the woods before sheriff’s office deputies arrived and they were not able to find him. Angela Whitson was taken to the hospital for treatment. The Carter County Sheriff’s Office had warrants ready to charge Buford Shane Whitson with Aggravated Assault under Domestic Violence.

When spotted, deputies tried to pull him over near Sycamore Shoals Hospital but he reportedly did not stop and he instead drove west on Highway 67 towards Johnson City. He drove in westbound and eastbound lanes several times and crossed the median, eventually heading back towards Johnson City.

Sheriff Lunceford said a deputy was able to get in front of Whitson’s car to try and put out spike strips to deflate his tires. Whitson reportedly tried to run over the officer but the strips worked and Whitson’s car came to a stop near the Milligan Highway overpass on the shoulder of the oncoming eastbound lane.

Sheriff Lunceford said when deputies approached Whitson’s vehicle, he was armed with a revolver, cocked and pointed at his own head. Whitson did not listen to deputies who were trying to get him to put the weapon down and efforts to disarm him not were successful. When Whitson pointed a gun at a deputy, he was shot. Whitson was declared dead at Johnson City Medical Center.

No officers were injured. The Johnson City Police Department responded to assist because the shooting happened in city limits but they were not involved in the incident. The TBI is still investigating whether the suspect shot at police and they believe he was alone in the car.

The TBI’s Violent Crime Response Team arrived on scene around 11 p.m. to collect evidence. The evidence file will be shared with District Attorney General Tony Clark when finished.

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