NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Metro Nashville Police Department officer is facing decommission for his actions in Thursday afternoon’s officer-involved shooting on I-65.
Landon Eastep, 37, was shot and killed during the intense situation on the interstate.
The incident began around 2 p.m. in the northbound lanes when a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper saw Eastep sitting on the side of I-65 near Hogan Road and stopped to offer him a ride off the interstate. Metro police said after a brief interaction, Eastep produced a box-cutter, and the trooper called for assistance.
An off-duty Mt. Juliet police officer stopped to help and began trying to de-escalate the situation through dialogue with Eastep, according to Metro police. For 30 minutes, Metro police said officers tried to negotiate with Eastep as he held the box cutter in his left hand and kept his right hand in his pocket.
Nine officers, including six Metro officers, two THP troopers and the off-duty Mt. Juliet officer, opened fire when Eastep pulled a round, metal object from his pocket that Metro police later reported was not a firearm.
“While the TBI conducts its investigation of the shooting on behalf of the District Attorney, I have directed that our Training Academy staff thoroughly examine how our officers positioned themselves in this multi-agency response and as well review the tactics and procedures used in relation to those that we teach,” Chief Drake said. “This department regularly reviews critical incidents, and the work on this one has begun. I am saddened by any loss of life, and I send my condolences to the Eastep family”
Following a meeting between Metro Deputy Chiefs, Chief Drake also directed that Officer Brian Murphy be decommissioned. Officer Murphy has been identified as the person who fired the final two shots from a rifle after Eastep had already hit the ground. An investigation will be launched into Murphy’s actions at the scene.
Officer Murphy is a 25-year veteran with MNPD.
The other Metro police officers who fired their guns have been identified as:
- Sargeant Steve Carrick — 8-year MNPD veteran
- Officer Justin Pinkelton — 25-year MNPD veteran
- Officer Sean Williams — 17-year MNPD veteran
- Officer Edin Plancic — 6-year MNPD veteran
- Officer James Kidd — Joined the department last February
All of those officers are on administrative assignment at this time.