The names of the two people shot haven’t been released, although they reportedly included a 20-year-old male driver and his 16-year-old female passenger. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said both are being treated at Holston Valley Medical Center and both are expected to survive.
The pursuit began around 8:30 p.m. Saturday when a Rogersville Police Department officer reportedly recognized the male driver in a vehicle at the intersection of Park Boulevard and Main Street as being wanted on an arrest warrant in Greene County. The nature of that Greene County warrant was not released.
Many of the details about the chase and shooting are either unconfirmed, unclear, or being withheld due to the TBI investigation into the shooting.
On Sunday, RPD Police Chief Doug Nelson did confirm, however, that his officers attempted a traffic stop due to the Greene County warrant, at which time the suspect vehicle fled prompting the pursuit. The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office joined in the pursuit that led them to Guntown Road.
Officers reportedly chased the suspect vehicle into the Colonial Village mobile home park off Guntown Road where the suspect vehicle was blocked from escaping. Nelson said witnesses told him the driver aimed the vehicle at police and accelerated, and officers opened fire.
There was no information released Sunday regarding which officers or how many officers opened fire or if any sheriff’s deputies fired as well. Nor was there information available Sunday on how many times or where on their bodies the suspects received bullet wounds.
Both suspects were transported to the Hawkins County Memorial Hospital where a helicopter landing zone was set up and they were airlifted to HVMC.
Nelson said that based on the information he received about the incident he feels the shooting was justified.
“I think the witnesses’ statements at the scene will help us out,” Nelsons said. “Our officers were in fear for their life and that’s why they opened fire. Everything was by the book based on what I know so far.”
TBI spokesperson Kristin Helm said Sunday the TBI was called to the shooting scene at 9:30 p.m. Saturday and the investigation is under way. She said it is routine for the TBI to investigate shootings involving police officers, but not much further information was available about this incident on Sunday.
“We had to call in the TBI because there was a shooting, and basically they’ll be doing all the investigation,” Nelson said. “I’m anticipating that we’re going to be filing some charges (against the suspects) but that hasn’t been sorted out yet. There were some charges already on the male subject from Greene County and that’s what prompted our officers to attempt the traffic stop.
“I know our department fired shots, but I really don’t know specifics yet on who fired or how many shots. I do know we had at least one officer who did fire.”