Video: Tenn. police shoot, kill armed man who endangered child, officer
Police have asked the community for more videos
By Evan Hoopfer
Chattanooga Times/Free Press
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Raymond Bennett's fiancée woke him up around noon Saturday in a panic.
"Raymond," she said, "someone just got killed out here."
"The police just killed someone."
Bennett got dressed and started nervously walking down the street. He thought it was his fiancée's cousin, who lives nearby, who had been killed, but it turned out to be 24-year-old Javario Shante Eagle.
Police said multiple officers fired when Eagle, armed with a gun, endangered a child and a police officer outside 5113 Woodland View Circle in the Emma Wheeler Homes. Eagle was pronounced dead at Erlanger hospital from his injuries.
After the shooting, Bennett and his neighbors talked about the implications of the shooting. The issue of black men being shot by police has drawn marches and demonstrations nationwide, including recent mass protests in Chicago over the killing of teenager Laquan McDonald.
Bennett, though, doesn't see this situation as controversial.
"We got into this crowd of people and they were talking like, 'This is another killing of a black man.' But then I said, 'Nah, from what I heard this isn't just a black man's killing, it's the dumbness of what he did that made himself get killed,'" he said.
Police Chief Fred Fletcher described events at a news conference in the public housing complex.
He said Hamilton County 911 got a call at 11:51 a.m. Saturday saying a man was exhibiting "unusual behavior" and making "unusual statements." When police arrived, they learned an armed man and a child were in one of the brick triplex apartments. Mental health officers, SWAT officers and hostage negotiators were summoned.
Witnesses told police they heard shots from inside the home, but Fletcher said investigators don't believe anybody was struck by this gunfire.
Law officers tried to convince Eagle to come out of the house unarmed. He came out and went back in several times, brandishing a handgun and knife. On the final time he walked out of the house, he had the child with him, Fletcher said.
Fearing for the child's safety, officers tried to coax the youngster away from Eagle while yelling at him to drop his weapons.
"At some point, the child left the custody of the armed suspect enough distance that one officer could leave cover, placing himself in a very dangerous situation, to rescue this small child from the armed suspect," Fletcher said.
It was then Eagle, still armed with the knife and gun, "aggressively moved toward" the officer and child and was shot by multiple officers, Fletcher said. No officers or bystanders were injured, he said.
District Attorney General Neal Pinkston asked the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office to investigate the shooting. Fletcher said the officers involved in the incident will be given seven days' leave as standard procedure.
Police ask anyone with video footage of the incident to call 423-698-2525.
Asked if this was standard or if police are looking for something in particular, Fletcher said, "If it hasn't been common procedure, it will become common procedure."
Fletcher also said extra officers would patrol the area Saturday night, though he did not believe there was any danger to the community.
Devin Bentley just saw Eagle three days ago and said he was a friend. The two are from the same neighborhood in Alton Park. He said Eagle was a normal person and he wasn't violent or mentally unstable.
"He was a silly person," he said. "He always liked to joke at people, make fun of people, just chill and smoke and drink, that's all."
Police could not confirm if the child was Eagle's, but Bentley said his little girl was the one involved. He said Eagle always had his kids with him.
"I don't know what made him do that, though," he said, shaking his head. "I wish he had never done it. I don't know what made him do that."
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