Landon Eastep was shot 12 times earlier this year by agents from multiple law enforcement agencies on Interstate 65 in Nashville, according to a recently released autopsy.
What started with a state agent checking 37-year-old Eastep, who was sitting on a guardrail along I-65, ended with nine agents from three agencies shooting him to death, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said.
The shooting attracted widespread attention and sparked outrage from leaders and advocates across the city, fueling controversy over de-escalation tactics and how police are coping with mental health crises. A lawyer representing Eastep’s wife called his death an “execution.”
The Nashville mobile crisis response team, designed to support people in mental health crisis, was not on site.
The TBI investigation into the shooting is still active and ongoing, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
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Eastep was struck by 12 bullets, two of which were abrasions, from his shoulders to his left leg, according to the autopsy.
Four of the bullets that hit him traveled from front to back, while five entered Eastep’s back. When initially struck by the gunfire, Eastep fell to the ground and landed on his side with his back to some of the officers, body camera images showed.
According to the report, the bullets broke numerous bones and two vertebrae. A gunshot wound to the chest hit both his lungs, heart and aorta.
Eastep also had minor blunt trauma to his body. The coroner found several bruises, cuts and abrasions.
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How the shooting went
Eastep held a box cutter as officers negotiated with him for about 30 minutes, TBI said. The highway was closed in both directions.
Partial CCTV footage released by the Metro Nashville Police Department showed several officers from three agencies surrounding Eastep with guns drawn. A helicopter could also be seen circling above us.
Eastep appeared to be holding his hand in his right pocket while holding the box cutter in his left. Officers began firing when Eastep pulled an unidentified “metal cylindrical object” from his pocket and “adjusted his stance,” TBI said.
Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said the item was not a firearm. Eastep was pronounced dead at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
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Watch the body camera images released by the Nashville Police Department
Warning: This video may be shocking to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised, especially for children and sensitive viewers.
Who were the officers?
Officials identified the nine law enforcement officers who fired their weapons as:
Sergeant Steven Carrick (MNPD)
Officer James Kidd (MNPD)
Officer Brian Murphy (MNPD)
Officer Justin Pinkelton (MNPD)
Officer Edin Plancic (MNPD)
Officer Sean Williams (MNPD)
Sergeant Charles Achinger (THP)
Trooper Reggie Edge (THP)
cpl. Fabjan Llukaj (Retired, Mt. Juliet Police Department)
According to the Nashville Police Department, Murphy fired the last two shots at the scene.
Within hours of the incident, Murphy was decommissioned and stripped of his police powers, pending an investigation into his actions. The other five MNPD officers were given a routine administrative task as a result of the shooting, the department said in February.
Kidd, Pinkelton, Plancic and Williams will resume patrol duties after their administrative duties ended Feb. 4, MNPD spokesman Brooke Reese said Tuesday. Murphy was reinstated on April 12. Carrick had taken a federal position before the shooting and resigned in February to accept it, Reese said.
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In February, THP said Edge and Achinger were on routine administrative leave with pay.
Llukaj was also on routine administrative and welfare leave, said Capt. Tyler Chandler of the Mount Juliet Police Department in February. Llukaj was later reinstated to full service, but has since voluntarily left that position. He will remain on duty as a reserve police officer, Chandler said Tuesday.
It was not immediately clear on Tuesday whether Edge, Achinger or Llukaj were still on leave. Spokespersons for both THP and the Mount Juliet Police Department did not immediately return emails asking the status of the officers.
An internal review of the shooting by MNPD is still open pending the results of the TBI investigation, Reese said. An independent investigation was also conducted by the Nashville Community Oversight Board.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Man from Nashville Shot 12 Times by Police on I-65, Autopsy Reveals