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Suicidal man lunges at deputy, pulls his gun, threatens to shoot himself

Deputy Chris Mobley was on his way home when he saw a man dive out of a moving van; Mobley tried to help the man, who later stole his gun and threatened to kill himself

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By Ashley Silver

COLUMBIA, Tenn. — A frightening scene unfolded on a busy Tennessee road as a suicidal man unholstered a gun off an off-duty officer who was attempting to de-escalate the situation.

According to WKRN News, off-duty Williamson County Deputy Chris Mobley was driving home when he saw a man dive out of a van: “I didn’t know if he was injured, or dazed and confused or what,” Mobley told the news outlet.

The 24-year-old man then ran from where he’d fallen back to the van and got into a heated argument with the occupants of the vehicle, attempting to remove the van keys from a woman in the car. When he could not successfully take the keys, he ran back into the middle of the road.

Mobley said the man was showing suicidal tendencies: “He’s in a mental health crisis, he said he wants to die. Nobody will talk to him, help him.”

Mobley tried to de-escalate the situation by beginning a dialogue with the man. However, as he started a conversation, the man lunged at him and took his duty weapon.

“He grabs me, I turn and shove him back. I press for weapon retention and felt an empty holster,” Mobley told the media platform. “I was shocked, I kid you not. I’ve been doing this job a long time, been in close counter situations, I have never had a weapon pulled that fast, I didn’t even feel it come out, it’s shocking how fast it happened.”

Mobley suspects the man’s training in martial arts may have allowed him to quickly get his weapon from the holster.

The woman driving the van called 911 as the incident was unfolding, telling the dispatcher, “He is trying to get that man’s gun. He’s got the officer’s gun.”

In the meantime, the officer was trying to get the man to release the gun, which he later placed to his own head: “I continue the dialogue, keep trying to de-escalate and talk him down,” Mobley recalled.

As backup arrived, Mobley was still working to coax the man into placing the gun down: “He said, ‘Tell them to back up or I’ll do it.’ I said, ‘They will not back up, but that’s OK you just have to let go of the gun and back away.’”

The suspect eventually let go of the gun.

“It was one of those situations where I am not going to let my mind go down the rabbit hole of what could happen, I’m more focusing on what did happen,” Mobley said. “I’ll credit my CIT training with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office to maintain that dialogue and de-escalate the situation and ultimately bring it to a peaceful resolution.”