published Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Chattanooga: Investigation says 59 police gunshots justified

A prosecutor says no charges will be filed against Chattanooga police officers who fired 59 gunshots at an armed man who had been ranting about suicide in his neighborhood for hours.

Hamilton County District Attorney Bill Cox said he made the decision based on a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report that shows officers had reason to fear death or serious harm from the actions of 32-year-old Alonzo Heyward.

Police have described Heyward's death on July 18, 2009 as a case of "suicide by cop."

The medical examiner found 43 bullet wounds in Heyward's chest, face, arms, hands, legs, buttocks and groin. Police have said he was a danger to others and threatened the six officers.

An attorney for Heyward's family, Archie Sanders III of Memphis, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

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browalkon said...

It's a sad day in Chattanooga. If i loose it one day and try to commit suicide please get me some Help don't shot me 43 times.

July 22, 2010 at 1:16 p.m.
harrystatel said...

"It's a sad day in Chattanooga. If i loose it one day and try to commit suicide please get me some Help don't shot me 43 times."

From your spelling and lack of punctuation, one shot in your foot and you'll be brain dead.

July 22, 2010 at 1:55 p.m.
browalkon said...

I hope that comment made you feel better about yourshelf. Stick to the issue at hand Mr. harrystatel

July 22, 2010 at 3:30 p.m.
dave said...

The way I see it...the Chattanooga Police Department's only form of "counseling" is with a bullet (or 43). The fellow clearly needed help but was met with a bloodthirsty hail of gunfire from a ruthless crowd who would rather kill for sport rather than attempt to save him. They can make all the excuses in the world for their behavior but everyone knows that what was on their mind was just to get a chance to kill. I doubt any of them have the guts to offer their lame excuses to the mother of this young man for taking his life. Who had he harmed? There was no evidence of he harming anyone other than his own threats to kill himself. Pitiful and a disgrace.

July 22, 2010 at 4 p.m.
enufisenuf said...

Harry, your the pot calling the kettle black

July 22, 2010 at 4:14 p.m.
matt_from_chatt said...

The medical examiner's report says he "advanced toward officers with a pistol and screaming suicide by cop."

I think if you brandish a pistol and walk toward officers while yelling, yes you're probably going to get shot. What else would you expect?

Sure this guy needed help, but once he became a deadly threat to everyone within sight of him, that obviously changed things.

59 shots seems excessive, but I don't know how many officers were there. If there were 10 officers, it is very reasonable each one could get 6 shots off before they see the situation is over.

If police did not fire those shots, this could have easily turned into 5 cops dead followed by suicide.

July 22, 2010 at 4:28 p.m.
harrystatel said...

"I hope that comment made you feel better about yourshelf. Stick to the issue at hand Mr. harrystatel Username: browalkon"

My apologies, browalkon. It was a cheap shot. Dueling with an man armed only with spitwads is beneath me.

As to the incident, Mr. Heywood knew what he was doing and got what he wanted. The fact that he didn't have the decency to do it without involving others is a crime he perpetrated on the officers.

Was he mentally unstable? Maybe! But when a gun is pointing at you and you're in fear for your life, I don't care how mentally unstable you are. If I get the first shot, I'll take it. And I'll keep firing until the threat is stopped.

The officers walked away unharmed physically, but I doubt that they wanted to kill someone that night. When you're involved in shooting someone, even when you're in the right, it's an act that effects you mentally.

I am surprised, though, that John Wolfe didn't beat Archie Sanders III of Memphis to the scene. John's scanner must have been off.

July 22, 2010 at 5:19 p.m.
jamiedc said...

43 times and justified there is no way they can call that justified noone deserves to be shot 43 times like that the police department needs to get it together before something like this happens i dont think we have seen the last of this either stand up and do something because this is just sad

July 22, 2010 at 5:34 p.m.
harrystatel said...

From the TFP, July 19, 2009:

"James Heyward said his brother had been distraught and depressed over not being able to see his children.

"He had talked suicidal before," he said. "But he never had a gun."

He said Alonzo called him about 3 a.m. Saturday and threatened to end his life. James Heyward went to his brother's home, where he and two of Alonzo's friends tried to reason with him. Alonzo held a gun to his throat, his brother said. The men followed Alonzo down Seventh Avenue to Rossville Boulevard.

Passers-by called police, and when officers arrived at the McDonald's, they ordered Alonzo to put the gun down, James Heyward said.

"(Alonzo) said he didn't want to hurt anybody, he just wanted to hurt himself," he said."

So the family knew he was suicidal and had violence in his recent past. His brother and friends followed him down the street without calling police to advise of the situation.

Oops! Sounds like the "family and friends" chose to ignore their brother's dilemma, made no effort to seek help for their brother, but want to blame the police for their failures. Typical "victim" response.

Had Alonzo killed anyone else, including the brother and friends, the police would have been blamed for not stopping him while they had the chance.

To all those out there second guessing what they would do with a gun pointed at them and how they would have handled things differently and so bravely, I suggest their first response would be to crap their pants, followed by fainting.

If someone comes at me with a gun, I hope there's six policeman around to shoot them. I won't care how many rounds they shoot as long as the threat is stopped.

I bet the family's not so upset that money won't make it all better.

July 22, 2010 at 6:24 p.m.
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