Suspect killed by HCSO deputies responding to domestic dispute involving gun

Jeff Bobo • Feb 22, 2018 at 9:18 PM

UPDATE: The deceased individual has been identified as Joshua D. Babb (DOB 6/15/91), of Church Hill, TN.


CHURCH HILL — A domestic dispute turned fatal Thursday evening near Church Hill when a man reportedly drew a gun on Hawkins County deputies and was fatally shot.

At about 7 p.m. Thursday, the HCSO responded to a domestic violence call possibly involving gunfire at a residence in the 400 block of Hickory Hills Road near Church Hill.

Upon their arrival, deputies reportedly encountered a male and a female who had apparently been involved in the dispute.

“The male had a firearm in his possession,” Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said. “He refused to put the firearm down. He drew it on the officers. They fired on him, and he died at the scene.”

The name of the deceased had not been released pending notification of the next of kin.

No deputies were injured.

“I have asked the attorney general to send the TBI and they’re on the scene now,” Lawson added Thursday night.

TBI spokesperson Leslie Earhart said the preliminary information indicates that deputies observed a male subject through the front door of the residence with what appeared to be a gun in his waistband.

“The subject came out onto the front porch of the home and confronted deputies,” Earhart stated in her report. “He refused to comply with verbal commands. Deputies deployed a taser in an attempt to subdue the subject, which was not successful. At some point during the confrontation, the subject threatened officers with the gun in his possession, which resulted in one of the deputies firing shots, striking the subject.”

Earhart added that TBI special agents, assisted by a team of forensic scientists, will gather any and all relevant interviews and evidence as part of this ongoing investigation. Findings will be shared with the district attorney general throughout the process for his consideration and review.

This was the second officer-involved shooting in the past two months for the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office.

On Jan. 8, Hawkins County deputies attempted to serve a fugitive warrant on Eugene Lee Loftis, 25, at a mobile home park on Okolona Road in the Carters Valley community near Church Hill.

"The suspect pulled in with a lady driving, and officers stopped the vehicle and talked to both of them," Lawson told the Times News at the time. "He wouldn't comply with orders to show his hands. He pulled out a handgun and officers fired."

Loftis was pronounced dead at the scene.

That shooting was investigated by the TBI as well. The attorney general’s office has yet to release the results of that investigation.

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