Tennessee authorities released body camera footage from a Thursday police involved shooting, when officers fatally shot a man who was walking along a Nashville interstate armed with a box cutter before he was struck, authorities have said.
Landon Eastep, 37, was agitated and was carrying the blade in his left hand, spokesperson for the Metro Nashville Police Department and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) said. The deadly encounter shut down traffic on a normally bustling travel corridor in Tennessee.
The encounter began shortly before 2 p.m. local time, when a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper first spotted Eastep on the shoulder of the interstate. Officers tried for about a half-hour to deescalate the situation.
“The trooper attempted to negotiate with Eastep, and soon, an off-duty Mount Juliet Police Department officer also stopped, along with back-up officers from the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department” and more Highway Patrol troopers, the statement added.
Police footage shows the man standing in the roadway as the officers, who have their guns pointed, shout to him: “Landon … let me help you out. You will not end up in jail … Don’t do it … Whatever you’re worried about, we can fix it. Let us get you some help though.”
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One of the officers can be heard asking Eastep to drop the knife. As he walks closer to the officers, one can be heard saying, “Just drop the knife, brother. Let’s help you out … Please brother.”
“Please drop it, brother,” he says. “This is not the answer … we don’t want to hurt you.”
At one point, an officer is heard asking Eastep if he has a gun.
Officers can be heard pleading with Eastep, “Don’t do it,” in the moments before he appears to pull his right hand out of his pocket or from behind him.
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Nine officers from three agencies fired at the man when he quickly pulled an unknown “silver, shiny cylindrical object” from his right pocket Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said. He said he did not know what the object was but said it was not a firearm.
Eastep was struck multiple times and died, Aaron said. No officers were injured.
TBI is investigating the shooting, but said it will not identify the officers involved.