Police say a man fatally shot while attempting to flee a Bluff City traffic crash, hitting two officers and a firefighter's pickup with his car, posed an immediate threat to both law enforcement and the community at large.
"When someone tries to run over and kill a police officer, they'll do that to anybody," said Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson during a Monday press conference.
Three officers from the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office, along with an officer from the Bluff City Police Department, were at the scene of the Sunday incident in the 100 block of Egypt Road.
Anderson declined to identify the three officers who fired on Rodger David Street, 58, or comment on the number of times he was shot. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is currently conducting a probe into the incident, as is protocol with officer-involved shootings.
Shortly before 6:30 p.m. Street was driving an Oldsmobile on Egypt Road. Police say his car struck the rear of an SUV, causing minor injuries to a male occupant of the other vehicle.
When officers arrived Street reportedly got into his car and began revving the engine. Anderson said one responding deputy recognized Street, of 814 Dry Branch Road, Bluff City, from a May arrest for driving on a revoked license.
Street allegedly ignored commands to exit his vehicle and attempted to drive away. He reportedly rammed an SCSO patrol car, knocking a deputy to the ground and pinning him between two vehicles, along with striking the Bluff City officer.
Police say Street's vehicle also hit the personal pickup of a local firefighter, who had responded to the initial crash after hearing it dispatched over the radio.
After allegedly striking officers with his car, police opened fire on Street. He was transported from the scene to Bristol Regional Medical Center, with Anderson saying he's not sure when he died.
TBI Spokesperson Kristin Helm says Street's body will be autopsied at the East Tennessee Forensic Center. Anderson said a toxicology report should reveal if Street was under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the incident occurred.
Anderson declined to speculate on why Street rammed officers and attempted to flee. Along with his previous arrest for driving on revoked in Sullivan County, Street reportedly has past charges of grand larceny and assault on an officer in Portsmouth, Va.
"I think he not only intended to hit the vehicles, I think he meant to run over the officers or anybody who got in his way," said Anderson. "And he did."
The three officers who fired on Street are currently on administrative leave, pending the results of the TBI investigation. Sullivan County District Attorney Gen. Barry Staubus said he'll present those TBI findings to a Sullivan County grand jury.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. On Monday morning THP media liaison Sgt. Bill Miller said he couldn't comment on the incident, citing the continuing investigation.
The officers involved suffered minor physical injuries, according to Anderson, and are now dealing with the "mental toll" of fatally shooting Street.
If needed for consultation, the Tennessee Public Safety Network has a critical incident stress debriefing team available.
"This is something that's going to stick with these officers the rest of their lives," said Anderson. _____________
A man who was fatally shot by police after allegedly ramming officers with his vehicle, pinning one between two cars, has been identified as a 58-year-old Bluff City resident.According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Sullivan County Sheriff's Office deputies were responding to a report of a crash with injuries Sunday evening on Egypt Road in Bluff City. When they arrived they attempted to arrest Roger David Street for driving on a revoked license and possession of a weapon.TBI Spokesperson Kristin Helm says Street refused to exit his vehicle, then attempted to drive away at a high rate of speed. That's when he reportedly hit two officers with his car, prompting three deputies to open fire.Street was transported to Bristol Regional Medical Center with gunshot wounds and pronounced dead. Helm says the East Tennessee Forensic Center will perform an autopsy, while the TBI is currently investigating the circumstances leading up to the shooting. Names of the officers involved have not been released.A press conference on the incident has been set for 2 p.m. Monday at the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office in Blountville. SCSO Public Information Officer Leslie Earhart previously stated that a Sheriff's Office deputy was pinned between two cars when the suspect attempted to flee, while a Bluff City officer was also struck.It was at that point that the officers reportedly opened fire on Street. Injuries to both officers were categorized as non-life threatening.Findings of the TBI's investigation will be forwarded to Sullivan County District Attorney Gen. Barry Staubus, as is protocol for any officer-involved shooting.Investigation of the crash that proceeded the shooting is being handled by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. On Monday morning THP media liaison Sgt. Bill Miller said he couldn't comment on the incident, citing the continuing investigation.Check back with TimesNews.net for details from Monday afternoon's press conference.