Police shoot, kill man walking along interstate in Tenn.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV/Gray News) - A man walking on Interstate 65 in Crieve Hall died after an officer-involved shooting on Thursday afternoon, police said.
Metro Police Spokesman Don Aaron said Landon Eastep, 37, was sitting on the guardrail near exit 78, WSMV reported. A Tennessee Highway Patrol saw the man and wanted to help him.
“Circumstances of this are unusual. State trooper wanted to help give him a ride off the interstate for his safety,” Aaron said.
The trooper tried to talk to Eastep, Aaron said. However, Eastep, who had been arrested by Metro Police previously, pushed the trooper.
“Trooper thought the situation was going to be OK. He pushed away from the trooper and showed the box cutter, which escalated the situation,” Aaron said.
A Mt. Juliet off-duty officer, who was driving by, saw what was happening and stopped to help. Aaron said the trooper and off-duty officer tried de-escalating the situation for 30 minutes.
Aaron said Eastep had a box cutter in his left hand, and his right hand was in his pocket.
Late Thursday night, Metro Police released bodycam footage of the incident from two of their six officers that fired their weapons. It is unclear if the THP troopers were wearing bodycams at the time of the shooting. The Mt. Juliet officer was off-duty at the time and not wearing a body camera.
Around 2:30 p.m., he pulled his right hand out of his pocket and had a shiny silver object, Aaron said. Aaron added it was an “abrupt” movement and law enforcement was unaware of what he had.
“(He was) kind of aiming something at them,” Aaron said.
That’s when Aaron says nine law enforcement members fired at Eastep.
Aaron said the silver object was not a gun.
“Don’t know what silver object was,” Aaron said.
Although a stun gun was on standby, Aaron said no tasers were deployed.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation on the shooting.
Due to the investigation, both the southbound and northbound sides of Interstate 65 were closed for a time at Exit 78.
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