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9 officers shoot man with box cutter, shiny object on Tennessee highway, police say

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9 officers shoot man with box cutter, shiny object on Tennessee highway, police say

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A man died after nine officers opened fire on him on a Tennessee highway on Thursday when he pulled what police described as a “shiny cylindrical object” from his pocket.

The man, identified by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation as Landon Eastep, 37, also had a box cutter, the agency said.

The encounter began around 2 p.m. when a state trooper saw Eastep on the shoulder of Interstate 65 south of Nashville, the agency said.

The trooper pulled over and spoke with Eastep “in an effort to get the guy off the freeway,” Don Aaron, a spokesman for the Metro Nashville Police Department, said at a news conference. .

As they approached the soldier’s car, Eastep “stepped away” from the officer and pulled out a box cutter, Aaron said.

An off-duty Mount Juliet Police Department officer driving on the highway pulled over and tried to help defuse the confrontation, Aaron said. Several officers from the Metro Police Department were also dispatched to the scene, he said.

Body-worn camera footage released by Metro Nashville police showed Eastep standing near the shoulder of the freeway. Officers can be seen standing several feet away.

Aaron said the Mount Juliet officer largely led the discussion with Eastep, which lasted about 30 minutes. Aaron said it was unclear why Eastep was on the freeway.

“Around 2:30 p.m., as officers continued to speak, he pulled a shiny silver cylindrical object” from his pocket, Aaron said of Eastep.

“Given his very sharp movement, sort of aiming something at the officers, the officers fired,” he said.

Six officers from the Metro Nashville Police Department discharged their weapons, he said. Two state troopers and the Mount Juliet officer also fired, he said.

Eastep was pronounced dead at a local hospital, Aaron said.

Aaron said he didn’t know what the metal object was – but it wasn’t a gun.

Officers fired “in self-defense, not knowing what a potential threat might have been in that right hand as it quickly popped out of the pocket,” Aaron said.

No officer was injured.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said it was independently trying to determine the series of events that led to the fatal shooting, conducting interviews and collecting evidence.

Those findings will be shared with the district attorney general for review and consideration, the agency said.

9 officers shoot man with box cutter, shiny object on Tennessee highway, police say

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