Investigators search for clues in the median of I-75 Saturday where a Bradley County deputy sheriff stopped to check on a woman and two small children walking. The woman allegedly slashed the deputy with a knife, and he fired at her as she stole the patrol car. The woman drove a short distrance before plowing through a fence and coming to rest on a Cleveland street. Staff photo by Randall Higgins
A Bradley County Sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot a woman on Interstate 75 in May was fired Monday for inappropriate behavior in an unrelated case.
Deputy Dustin Patrick was fired for conduct unbecoming a member of the sheriff’s office and for improper use of department equipment, said sheriff’s spokesman Bob Gault in a news release. The firing did not have to do with the shooting, Gault said.
Gault refused to provide details, saying the internal investigation was still open. He said he didn’t know when it would be completed.
On May 21, Patrick shot 30-year-old Armetta Foster. She had been walking north on Interstate 75 with her two children when Patrick stopped his patrol car and began to question her. As he was talking, Foster began slashing at him with a knife and cut him on the hand, according to reports.
Then Foster ran to Patrick’s idling cruiser and sped away, leaving her children behind. The deputy fired his weapon, hitting her seven or eight times, records show.
Foster drove the patrol car about 21⁄2 miles before crashing through a fence. She died at Erlanger hospital in Chattanooga.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation looked into the shooting and found Patrick had followed policy. Investigators discussed the information with the 10th Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office, which decided not to press charges, TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said in an email.
Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...