Landon Estep was shot 12 times by multiple law enforcement officers on Interstate 65 in Nashville earlier this year, according to a newly released autopsy.
Estep, 37, who was sitting on a guardrail along I-65, was shot and killed by nine troopers from three agencies in what began as a state trooper check, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said.
The shooting drew widespread scrutiny and sparked an outcry. From leaders and advocates across the city, de-escalation tactics and how police handle mental health crises fuel controversy. A lawyer representing Estep’s wife described his death as a “hanging”.
Nashville’s Mobile Crisis Response Team, which is designed to help people in mental health crises, was not on the scene.
A TBI investigation into the shooting remains active and ongoing, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.
‘He didn’t deserve it’: Landon Estep’s wife is speaking out after a Nashville man was killed by police.
According to the autopsy, Estep suffered 12 gunshot wounds, two of which were graze wounds from his shoulders down to his left leg.
Four of the bullets that hit him went from the front to the back, while five entered Estep from behind. When he was initially shot, Estep fell to the ground, rolling onto his back toward some officers. Body camera footage surfaced.
According to the report, several bones and two vertebrae were broken by the bullets. The bullet wound in the chest affected both his lungs, heart and aorta.
Estep also suffered a slight trauma to his body. The medical examiner noted several bruises, cuts and scratches.
How did the shooting unfold?
The TBI said Estep was holding a box cutter when officers negotiated with him for about 30 minutes. Both directions of the interstate were closed.
Partial body camera footage released by the Metro Nashville Police Department shows several officers from three agencies surrounding Estep with weapons. A helicopter can also be seen circling overhead.
Estep was seen with his hand in his right pocket while holding a box cutter in his left hand. When Estep pulled an unknown “metallic cylindrical object” from his pocket and “adjusted his stance,” the officers began shooting, the TBI said.
According to Nashville police spokesman Don Irwin, the item was not a firearm. Estep was pronounced dead at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Watch the body camera footage released by Nashville police
Warning: This video may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised, especially for children and sensitive viewers.
Who were the officers?
Authorities identified the nine law enforcement officers who fired their weapons:
Sergeant Steven Carrick (MNPD)
Officer James Kidd (MNPD)
Officer Brian Murphy (MNPD)
Officer Justin Pinkleton (MNPD)
Officer Aidan Plank (MNPD)
Officer Sean Williams (MNPD)
Sergeant Charles Etchinger (THP)
Trooper Reggie Edge (THP)
Cpl Fabjan Llukaj (Off Duty, Mount Joliet Police Department)
Nashville police said Murphy fired the last two shots at the scene.
Within hours of the incident, Murphy was dismissed and stripped of his police authority., an investigation into his actions is pending. Five other MNPD officers were placed on routine administrative duty as a result of the shooting, the department said in February.
MNPD spokeswoman Brooke Reese said Tuesday that Kidd, Pinkleton, Plank and Williams resumed patrol duties on Feb. 4 after their administrative duties ended. Murphy was reinstated on April 12. Carrick had accepted the federal post before the shooting and resigned in February to take it.
As of February, THP said Edge and Achinger were on routine administrative leave with pay. Mount Joliet Police Department Capt. Tyler Chandler said in February that Lukaj was also on routine administrative and welfare leave.
It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether Agee, Achengar or Lukaj were still on leave. Spokesmen for both THP and the Mount Joliet Police Department did not immediately return emails requesting the officers’ statuses.
An internal review of the shooting by the MNPD is still open, pending the results of the TBI investigation, Reese said. An independent investigation was also being conducted by Nashville’s Community Oversight Board.
Find reporter Rachel Wagner at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter. @rachelannwegner.
This article originally appeared on the Nashville Tennessean: Nashville man shot 12 times by police on I-65, autopsy shows