Landon Eastep Nashville man shot dead by 9 Tennessee cops while holding boxcutter. Should police should have used lethal force?
Police overkill? Tennessee authorities shot dead a man wielding a box cutter on a major interstate Thursday afternoon following a 30-minute standoff after the man continued to desist in relinquishing the ‘weapon’.
When the law enforcement tried to talk to Eastep and get him off the interstate, he ‘pushed away from the trooper and produced a box cutter,’ Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said.
The trooper called for backup – and numerous officers from three agencies tried for about a half-hour to de-escalate the situation.
‘C’mon brother, just drop the knife, get your hand out your pocket,’ Mt. Juliet Police officer James Kidd is heard saying in bodycam video released later that day.
BREAKING: TBI is investigating a deadly officer-involved shooting on I-65 in Crieve Hall this afternoon. See the latest information on the investigation. https://t.co/BN83p7EzNN pic.twitter.com/eO8YAMShYV
— WSMV News4 Nashville (@WSMV) January 27, 2022
The cops formed a semi-circle around the man, who friends said has battled mental health issues, and continued to beg him to take his hand holding the weapon out of his jacket pocket.
Nine of the officers opened gunfire when Eastep quickly pulled an unknown ‘silver, shiny cylindrical object’ from his right pocket. Eastep was struck multiple times and died at a local hospital. Up to 20 gunshots were fired.
Video from a witness (see above) captured the confrontation, and the moment the officers shot Eastep after he raised an arm.
It wasn’t immediately clear what the object was that Eastep pulled out of his pocket, but Aaron confirmed it was not a firearm.
“We don’t want to shoot you. And you don’t want to hurt us. I’ve got kids to go home to[…]but God put me here so I can help you out today.” -Mt Juliet PD Officer during fatal officer-involved shooting in Nashville. Full MNPD video statement here: https://t.co/Bzbu3xq9w1 pic.twitter.com/FPMmp2KfKJ
— Nickelle Smith (@NickelleReports) January 28, 2022
Social media responds
The incident led to commentators on social media expressing shock and disconcert following the fatal shooting.
Posted one: ‘At least 20 shots fired, the article seemed to not mention how many although they had 9 officers there and a tazer available. Show me in the training where open fire sessions are authorized.’
‘an unidentified 37-year-old man was sitting on the guardrail near exit 78. A Tennessee Highway Patrol saw the man and wanted to help him.” – so you get shot for just fitting on a guardrail?!’
And another: ‘So walking on the highway is a shooting offense now? 9 officers there and noone is able to safely subdue the suspect? Anyone hear about this new thing called a taser? Sure hope there was more to the story.’
The shooting is now being probed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.