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Kingsport police shooting headed to grand jury

August 14th, 2013 12:24 pm by Rain Smith

Kingsport police shooting headed to grand jury

Investigators at the scene of the June 11 shooting on Watauga Street. File photo by David Grace.

Findings of an investigation into June's shooting of a wanted man by Kingsport police will soon be presented to a grand jury, leaving the placement of any charges to their discretion.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was called in to compile a report on the June 11 incident, when a man sought on violation of probation and failure to appear warrants ran from officers onto the roof of a city home.

Approximately two and a half hours into negotiations to surrender, according to Kingsport Police Department Public Information Officer Tom Patton, the suspect made "threatening gestures towards the officers" with an unspecified weapon.

Jeffrey Chase Caldwell, 25, was then shot once in the abdomen, transported from the Watauga Street home to the hospital. Both the KPD and TBI have declined to identify Caldwell's weapon, or the officer who fired the shot, but interim Kingsport Police Chief David Quillin says the action was justified.

"The suspect created this situation," Quillin previously stated, adding Caldwell alone, "dictated the outcome of this incident."

Citing conversations with their son while he was hospitalized, Caldwell's parents have told the Times-News their son was unarmed when shot. They claim he held a roof shingle that came loose during the standoff.

On Aug. 27 a Sullivan County grand jury will decide what charges or actions should come from the shooting, if any, and who if anyone is at fault.

"There are dual determinations," said Sullivan County District Attorney Gen. Barry Staubus. "One: Did or did not the police use excessive force in handling the situation. Two: Was the individual who was apprehended in any way responsible."

Kingsport police have deferred placing any potential charges against Caldwell to the grand jury. The day of the incident they arrested his girlfriend, Kelly Gardner, who allegedly told officers that he wasn't at her parents home.

The TBI says Caldwell then went onto the back roof of the residence, stating he wouldn't go back to jail. For allegedly lying to officers about her boyfriend's presence, Gardner was charged with filing a false police report.

Caldwell was located by Kingsport police following a tip he was at the Watauga Street home. At that time he was wanted on warrants out of Hawkins County and Sullivan County.

He currently remains held at the Sullivan County jail in Blountville without bond for violation of probation. There is also a hold out of Hawkins County for his charge in that jurisdiction.

Gen. Staubus says he received the TBI's report on the shooting earlier this week. Citing the pending presentment to the grand jury, he declined to comment on the investigation's findings.

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