1 officer decommissioned, 5 others on administrative duty in investigation of fatal Nashville freeway shooting

Five members of the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department have been placed on administrative assignment and a sixth has been taken off duty after a man was fatally shot and killed on the side of a freeway on Tuesday, Police Chief John Drake. Drake said nine law enforcement officials, including a sergeant, fired to Landon Eastep, 37.

Officer Brian Murphy, a 25-year veteran of the department, lost his police authority pending a review of the shooting. According to Drake, he fired the final two shots at Eastep.

The other five placed on routine administrative assignments were identified by Drake as Officer Justin Pinkelton, a 25-year veteran; officer Sean Williams, a 17-year veteran; Officer Edin Plancic, a 6-year veteran; Officer James Kidd, who joined the department last February; and Sergeant Steven Carrick, an 8-year veteran.

Body camera video released by Nashville police shows officers surrounding a man later identified as Landon Eastep on I-65 on January 27, 2022.

Nashville Metro Police Department

Two Tennessee Highway Patrol soldiers and an officer from Mt. Juliet also fired their weapons, Drake said.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is looking into the shooting, Drake said. “This department regularly reviews critical incidents, and work on this one has begun. I am saddened by any loss of life and send my condolences to the Eastep family.”

What happened

Nashville police responded Thursday to a ‘Code 5000’ – meaning personnel are in grave danger – after Eastep allegedly fired a box cutter at a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper in the side of a highway, Drake said. Before officers arrived from Nashville, an off-duty officer from Mt. Juliet stopped to help the soldier and attempted to speak to Eastep.

Video released by the department indicates that the Mount Juliet officer attempted to speak with Eastep for about 30 minutes. At the time, Eastep held the cutter in his left hand and had his right hand in his pocket, according to the video.

After Nashville officers arrived, a total of nine law enforcement personnel were in contact with Eastep when he pulled an item from his pocket and “took a position as if it were a gun,” Drake said. Body camera footage included in the video appeared to show Eastep pulling his hand out of his pocket and pointing it at an officer in the moments before the shooting.

Officers shot Eastep, killing him. The object was later determined to be a cylindrical metal object, Drake said.

None of the officers were injured in the incident.

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