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Landon Eastep Family, Remaining Experts Stunned by Nashville Police Interstate Shooting

A Tennessee man with a man in shorts who was shot dead by nine policemen on a busy highway has cut himself off from his family in recent months, raising concerns among loved ones about his mental state — but one former officer said it appeared police were “rushed to judge” ‘ when they opened fire in unison.

Landon Eastep, 37, died in a hail of bullets after stopping for 30 minutes on Interstate 65, near Nashville. The incident began around 2 p.m. Thursday, when a Tennessee State trooper spotted Eastep walking down the interstate and offered to drive him home. But while talking to Eastep, “the exchange escalated” and Eastep pulled the box cutter from his pocket, according to authorities.

A police officer on duty driving noticed the tense confrontation and stopped to assist. Backup officers from the Nashville Metro Police Department and reinforcements from the Tennessee Highway Patrol arrived a short time later. In camera footage released by law enforcement on Thursday night, officers can be seen trying to get Eastep to release the box cutter from his left hand. His right hand was still in his pocket.

“Come on guys,” one of them says in the video. “Just raise your hand, drop the knife and figure this out.”

About half an hour after the incident began, Eastep appeared to “reset his stance and reached for what was later identified as a cylindrical metal object at his waist”. according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. “At least nine of the law enforcement officers shot at Eastep, who died at the scene. No law enforcement officers were injured in the incident.”

The metal object “is not a gun,” Metro Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said in a video statement posted late Thursday in which he called the circumstances of the shooting “unusual.” “.

After Eastep moved from Limestone, Tennessee, to Nashville, 260 miles and one time zone to the west, he distanced himself from those closest to him, Eastep’s cousin told The Daily Beast on Friday. .

Dustin Eastep, 39, said: “He moved down there and got married, and pretty much quit talking to his family. “A couple of months ago, he didn’t go to his father’s funeral or anything.”

According to Dustin, Eastep, a construction worker, was on the highway because he and his wife got into a fight.

“He told her to let him out of the car and he started walking down the interstate,” he said, citing discussions with other family members.

When analyzing a police shooting, it’s important to frame the facts according to Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD detective sergeant and an adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. exact way.

Giacalone told The Daily Beast after reviewing body-cam footage from the incident, “There’s no such thing as ‘good’ cops. “A lot of times, people talk about it for good or bad, but police shootings are justifiable or not.”

According to Giacalone, officers in Tennessee were at a disadvantage from the start, who explained that a freeway, as opposed to an apartment, for example, gives a suspect too much open space for police to control. situation in any meaningful way.

“It’s a terrible position, and they have to deal with it one way or another,” Giacalone said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned.”

In moments like these, only one officer should interact with a suspect — not the “multiple voices” Giacalone said he heard in the bodycam video “because that can mess up the situation.” Figure”.

“It is true that this gentleman is going through a mental health crisis, but he is in the middle of the highway,” Giacalone said. “They shut it down and they did a pretty good job. Now, you can’t give them all the credit, because they killed him, but that seems justifiable. ”

In contrast, the retired Newark Police Department, Sgt. Luke Laterza, a trained gun surveyor who oversees the Newark PD ballistics lab, viewed the footage on the camera body and criticized the officers’ actions.

“First and foremost, he’s under siege,” Laterza told The Daily Beast. “Look how far these officers are from him. Where is the imminent danger to these officers? He has a blade on him. What will he do, throw it away? They had time with them, they had a safe distance, they were overreacting. ”

He’s been in similar situations since then, where he would call for a less lethal option before pulling his gun. And now, he added, the officers involved will face an uphill battle to convince a grand jury that they did the right thing.

“Are you telling me that nobody has a tasting machine? No one has bean bags? They don’t have to shoot him. They rushed. He suddenly took action, and they rushed to judge. It’s ridiculous. This could have been prevented. ”

One of the officers on the scene assigned a “standby” duty, Aaron said in a press conference on Thursdaybut “no missions deployed, until discharge.”

Shortly after the shooting took place, Eastep’s sister-in-law, Samantha McGill-Barge, launch an online fundraiser to “help bring justice to Landon Eastep.”

“This man was murdered by several officers,” the GoFundMe page reads. “He was shot for no good reason and he didn’t deserve to die. He left his wife behind, and she had no way to financially care for herself during the grieving time, bury Landon, or even provide any services to her husband. He has no life insurance and no other means of care for life.”

Eastep had a troubled, failed past many criminal records because the driving on a revoked license, Possession of stolen propertyand probation violation. In 2016, Eastep was evicted from his home for driving a stolen vehicle, and was eventually arrested for driving under the influence, possession of drugs, and other offences. He reported to officers that he had shot methamphetamine that day, and that the only reason he was driving “was because he had to go get more methamphetamine,” according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Eastep is was arrested last November on the charge of domestic assault with bodily harmand is scheduled to appear in court on April 19.

Eastep’s defense of publicity, Natalie Unger, did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.

Dustin Eastep said: “He was pretty wild, doing things he shouldn’t have done. “I’ll just leave it at that.”

Eastep halted his long estrangement from his family, if only for a short while, shortly before his death, his cousin said.

When Eastep last spoke to his sister, Michelle, he “berated her, dumped her, and she had no contact with him for several months,” says Dustin Eastep.

Their father, Howard Eastep, died in September at the age of 74. Landon wasn’t there to say goodbye.

In recent weeks, Michelle has helped prepare a retired bricklayer’s home for rental or resale, according to Dustin.

“She missed a call from him the day before and he left a voicemail,” he said, adding that Michelle was busy with housework and “she couldn’t get him back. again”.

“Then she got a phone call last night that he was shot,” Dustin said. “I talked to [her] this morning, and she’s rolling her eyes. “

Eastep’s sister could not be contacted.

WARNING: This video includes extremely graphic gun violence

The Metro Nashville Police officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, the department announced Thursday. They have been identified as Justin Pinkelton, Edin Plancic, Brian Murphy, Sean Williams and Sgt. Steve Carrick. The foreign affairs officer who works with PD Mt. Juliet, identified as James Kidd.

Captain Tyler Chandler of the Mt. Juliet told reporters that the shooting was difficult for Kidd, the officer who stopped to help, as well as Kidd’s family, who were sitting in the car and watching the scene unfold.

“A lot of people on this interstate saw this take place,” said Chandler, “Our officer’s family witnessed this take place. And our officer had to go through a very traumatic incident.”

The The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said “Working to independently determine the sequence of events that led to the shooting,” and will share his findings with the county attorney general.

“He loves my sister and my children very much, and to my knowledge is a good person,” said Eastep’s sister-in-law, Samantha McGill-Barge, told the Daily Beast a few hours after the shooting. “It is a very unfortunate situation. I am in shock.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/landon-easteps-family-experts-left-stunned-by-nashville-police-interstate-shooting?source=articles&via=rss Landon Eastep Family, Remaining Experts Stunned by Nashville Police Interstate Shooting

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