Chattanooga police cleared a man they originally said was a suspect in a robbery over the weekend.
Police had detained 46-year-old Darryl Roberts in the back of a patrol car after they found him at a CVS Pharmacy an hour after an attempted robbery at Tiffany Nails, 5509 Brainerd Road, Saturday night.
"Investigators with the Chattanooga Police Department's robbery unit have determined that Darryl Roberts was not involved," said Master Patrol Officer Nathan Hartwig. "He was released and was not charged."
A robbery suspect identified as Antonio Sheffield, 37, of Gulfport, Miss., fired at officers who responded to the Economy Inn, 5505 Brainerd Road. As officers fired back, Sheffield rounded the building and struck an officer with a handgun before taking the patrol car Roberts was sitting in.
"We can't comment on how the suspect got into the car," Hartwig said, citing an ongoing investigation.
Officers Kristoffer Tinney, Zachary Moody and Steven Meador are on leave after firing shots at Sheffield.
It's unclear if any of the rounds officers fired struck Sheffield. Officers involved in shootings normally are placed on administrative leave with pay until they are cleared to return to work. Typically, they are on leave for seven days.
The officer who was struck by Sheffield suffered minored injuries. He was treated at a local hospital and released Saturday night. The department declined to release his name.
"The officer that was struck in the forehead by the suspect was not directly involved in the shooting, so his name will not be released at this time," Hartwig said.
Sheffield sped away in the stolen patrol car across the state line to Georgia. The vehicle crashed.
"A short time after, his vehicle came to a stop," said Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Greg Ramey. "I think officers were nearby or present."
Georgia State Patrol and Whitfield County Sheriff's Office stopped the vehicle on North Dug Gap Road, according to police.
Roberts was uninjured. Shortly after the crash, Sheffield turned a handgun on himself and pulled the trigger at contact range, said Whitfield County Coroner Bobbie Dixon.
"It was a suicide," she said.
GBI is investigating Sheffield's death.
Sheffield was sentenced to 116 months for possessing with intent to distribute crack cocaine and felony possession of a firearm in 2001. He appealed and his sentence was reduced to 99 months and three days. He was released in March 2008 from a medium security facility in Yazoo City, Miss. He was placed on a five-year supervision period.
Contact staff writer Beth Burger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6406. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/abburger.
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