Lebanon Officer Accidentally Shoots, Kills Driver - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Lebanon Officer Accidentally Shoots, Kills Driver

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By Tim Wetzel and Eric White 

LEBANON, Tenn. – An officer with the Lebanon Police Department accidentally shot and killed the suspect in a high speed vehicle pursuit. 

Officials said Officer David McKinnley was driving on the Highway 70 bypass around 2:30 a.m. when a vehicle entered his lane. McKinnley believed the other driver may have intentionally tried to ram his police cruiser head-on. 

McKinnley and another police officer began to chase the driver, identified as 23-year-old Greg Thompson, Jr. 

The vehicles made their way onto Carthage Highway, where Thompson ran off the road. 

Lebanon police Commissioner Billy Weeks said at a news conference that the officers reported Thompson was non-compliant after the crash. 

As the officers approached the vehicle, McKinnley slipped and his firearm went off. Officer Mitch McDannald thought the gunfire came from the suspect and he returned fire, fatally wounding Thompson. 

"It's unfortunate for these police officers, and it's unfortunate that they were put into this position. It's unfortunate that it turned out the way it did," said Weeks. 

Greg's mother Kay Thompson cannot make sense of what police said happened to her son. 

"Everybody knew him. Everybody knew him. Everybody knew that he was a good kid," said Thompson. "A mistake costs my son's life." 

Carthage Highway was closed between Old Rome Pike and Sugar Flat Road while detectives processed the scene.

Investigators from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Tennessee Highway Patrol and Lebanon Police Department were conducting separate investigations. 

Officers McKinnley and McDannald were placed on routine administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. 

Greg was driving without valid drivers' license. NewsChannel 5 learned that he had also been arrested on a DUI in Nashville in July of 2009. 

In 2000, Lebanon police conducted a raid on a home and shot the homeowner. Officers stormed into the wrong house and shot an innocent man. The victim, 62-year-old John Adams, was also related to Wednesday's victim. 

"This is not the first time that they accidentally shoot somebody. They've shot and made a wrong mistake and shot someone else in their home, my cousin," said victim's aunt Angela Humes. "I mean it's got to stop," 

A jury failed to find the officer in charge of the botched raid that killed John Adams guilty of any wrongdoing. The city of Lebanon did pay the family a $400,000 civil settlement. 

E-mail: twetzel@newschannel5.com and ewhite@newschannel5.com

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