MNPD officer shoots suspect during domestic violence incident; COB responds

COB claims lack of cooperation from MNPD
Posted at 7:01 AM, Jun 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 14:06:36-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Metro Nashville police officer shot a suspect in the hand while responding to a domestic violence call involving a man and two women.

The call came in at 5:47 a.m. Wednesday, on 18th Avenue North and McKinney Avenue in the Buena Vista Heights area.

Metro police spokesperson Don Aaron said a woman called police saying her ex-boyfriend, identified as 27-year-old Jotez Anderson, had guns and that his current girlfriend had pointed a gun at her. Aaron said officers arrived and saw Anderson coming from the back of a duplex with a gun in-hand.

Witnesses told police they heard the officers yell 'drop the gun.' Aaron said Anderson refused and kept walking towards them with the gun, at which point officers fired. Anderson went around to the front of the duplex and encountered another officer, who also fired at him.

From there, Anderson ran to another property and was found hiding behind a car with a hand wound. Aaron said he didn’t have a gun on him at the time of his arrest. Authorities think he may have gone into the duplex at some point while running. They’re still looking for the gun.

Neither of the women in the original domestic violence call were hurt.

Aaron identified the officers as Officer Joshua Green, a five-year veteran and Officer David Harms, who graduated from the academy earlier this year. Green is Harms training officer for today.

Aaron said Anderson has a criminal history and had a domestic violence warrant out for his arrest.

Metro police say they’ve been in conversation with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to work the scene.

The Metro Nashville Community Oversight Board released a statement following the Wednesday morning shooting saying in part, "...Today’s police involved shooting marks three such occurrences in less than a month and MNPD’s lack of cooperation with the MNCO continues to be a glaring."

Metro Nashville police officials responded to the group's statement, saying MNPD "...takes exception to this afternoon’s Community Oversight Board media release...MNPD Office of Professional Accountability Director Kathy Morante, an attorney and former prosecutor, was on the scene of this morning’s officer-involved shooting on 18th Avenue North and authored this narrative"

"I received information at approximately 6:05 this morning about an officer-involved shooting in North Nashville. I met Detective Ron Carter at the OPA office and we drove to the scene together. When we arrived, Community Oversight Board Executive Director Jill Fitcheard, Assistant Director Clausi and an investigator were present. Detective Carter, who is a sworn law enforcement officer, immediately proceeded to the scene of the shooting. I stayed behind the tape, in the same area as the members of the COB. I have read the account from the COB staff, and I am perplexed as to what they mean when they claim that we were “welcomed“ by members of the MNPD. I did speak with several of the officers and other personnel who were standing in the area or passing by. We exchanged pleasantries, as I knew some of them from other cases, or from the law classes I teach at the Academy. However, I did not receive any sort of briefing from anyone on the scene and never crossed the crime scene tape.

While at the scene and waiting for the investigation to be completed, I exchanged various pleasantries with Director Fitcheard and Assistant Director Clausi while we were waiting. When I first spoke with them I shared the very limited information I had at that time. They indicated that was all they knew as well. Later, I informed them that I’d been told the officers involved in the shooting were doing a walk through with detectives. On several occasions, Mr. Clausi asked questions like who various people were, and I gave him names whenever I knew them.

A few minutes before 9 a.m., Director Fitcheard and the others from the COB left. Ms. Fitcheard said they had been there for over two hours and it was a waste of their time. Within a few minutes after they left, Captain Jason Starling {Commander of Criminal Investigations} approached me and asked where the folks from the COB had gone. I explained that they just left. He informed me that he was there to brief them as to the shooting incident. After Captain Starling walked back to the shooting scene, I called Assistant Director Clausi and informed him that Captain Starling wanted to give the COB a briefing. His response was that he would call Director Fitcheard to discuss. This was at 9:00 a. m. At 9:07, Mr. Clausi returned my call and said that the Director did not want to return to the scene, but wondered if the briefing could be done by phone. I said I didn’t see why that would be a problem. I got Captain Starling’s cell phone number and gave it to Mr. Clausi.

I did not receive a briefing as to the facts of the shooting until my investigator, Ron Carter, came to speak with me at approximately 9:15. Despite the implication in the statement released by the COB, I did not enter the scene of the shooting and, in fact, stayed in the same area as the members of the COB who were present. Further, I did not receive any briefing until after 9:15. If Director Fitcheard and her staff had not chosen to leave, they would have received a briefing from Captain Starling. Further, I took the extra step of contacting the Assistant Director to be sure he was aware that a briefing was available. Apparently, it was not worth the effort by the Director and Assistant Director to return to the scene. I did give them a cell number for a telephone briefing. I do not know if they chose to contact Captain Starling.

Investigations of officer-involved shootings are meticulous and lengthy. Both MNPD and TBI investigators were on the scene this morning. Evidence collection and active investigation, including a search of the duplex, continued into mid-morning. At 11:32 a.m., Lieutenant Pat Taylor from the Criminal Investigations Division contacted the Emergency Communications Center to request that a COB representative be notified that he was ready to conduct a walk-though of the scene for COB staff. At 11:45 a.m., after not receiving a response concerning the walk-through, Lieutenant Taylor again radioed the Emergency Communications Center and provided his cell number to be relayed to COB Staff. At 12:17 p.m., Lieutenant Taylor radioed the Emergency Communications Center again to ask whether the dispatcher had gotten a response from the COB. He was told no.

Neither Captain Starling nor Lieutenant Taylor have heard from COB staff as of 5:30 p.m. today.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the MNPD and COB in regard to crime scene access states the following:


A. While Board personnel will not be granted immediate access to any secured investigative perimeter maintained or controlled by the Department, once the scene is stabilized and secured and access to the scene will not compromise a criminal investigation, and to the extent legally permissible, the lead investigator may grant Board personnel access and escort them into the perimeter of the scene.

B. Board personnel will not remove, alter, handle or disturb any evidence or object at the scene. Photographs will be permitted. The Board is expected to acknowledge that any case details, information, existence of evidence, photographs, or other details will be maintained as confidential as may be required by the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure or state law.

The MNPD is committed to working productively with staff of the COB. Deputy Chief Mike Hagar is the point person for day to day interaction. COB staff also has frequent contact with OPA Director Kathy Morante."

Editor's note: In our initial reporting, we reported that Anderson pointed a gun at his former girlfriend. We have since learned that the former girlfriend told police the current girlfriend pointed a gun at her, and updated our reporting. We apologize for the error.