Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agents were looking into shootings by one or more Cheatham County sheriff’s deputies that left one man dead and another man hospitalized in separate incidents on consecutive days during the weekend of Nov. 7-8.
District Attorney General Ray Crouch requested the TBI to investigate both shootings, which began as domestic-related calls.
The man fatally shot, 58-year-old Terry David Fox of Kingston Springs, was reportedly armed when confronted by a deputy, who responded Nov. 8 at approximately 11:15 p.m. to a home in the 1000 block of Pheasant Court, the TBI said.
Fox was armed with a handgun on the front porch, the TBI said. The deputy gave several commands for Fox to drop his handgun, which Fox did not do, the TBI said.
The situation escalated for reasons still under investigation, and resulted in the deputy firing his gun, striking Fox, who died at the scene, the TBI said.
The first incident occurred Nov. 7 at approximately 8:30 p.m. at a home in the 2300 block of Petway Road in the Ashland City area.
Initial reports indicate three deputies responded to the call involving a woman and her boyfriend, Michael Gurley, the TBI said.
During interaction with Gurley, the situation “escalated” and “at least one deputy” fired at him, the TBI said.
Gurley, 50, was hospitalized, according to the TBI. Susan Niland, a TBI spokeswoman, said by email Nov. 12 that Gurley had been released from the hospital.
No law enforcement officers were injured in either incident.
The TBI does not identify officers involved in these types of incidents. Sheriff Mike Breedlove as of Nov. 12 had not identified any deputy involved.
In the Fox case, Breedlove said by email that he was waiting for the TBI to finish its investigation, and that he was going to sit down with the deceased man’s family prior to releasing deputy information.
Breedlove did not respond when asked to provide a statement about the shootings.
Both TBI announcements on the separate incidents said: “As a reminder, the TBI acts solely as fact-finders in its cases and does not determine whether the actions of an officer were justified in these types of matters. That decision rests solely with the District Attorney General requesting TBI’s involvement.”
Gov. Lee’s initiative
The shootings come at a time when police use of force is under scrutiny.
In July, amid allegations of police brutality in parts of the nation, Gov. Bill Lee announced a “Law Enforcement Reform Partnership” that included law enforcement representatives, state legislators and community leaders.
In September, Lee’s office announced that the group had made recommendations “to strengthen policing policies, improve information sharing around disciplinary actions and increase officer training.”
“The Partnership produced sample policies consistent with national standards and distributed them to all local agency heads via the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association and Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police,” the Sept. 10 announcement said. “Additionally, a use-of-force policy checklist was created for agencies to review existing policies and to serve as a resource for agencies that may or may not have existing policies.”
Breedlove did not respond to an email inquiring about a use-of-force policy for the Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office and whether the CCSO was among the many agencies that Lee’s group said “have reviewed their policies and completed the online checklist attestation.”