Family of man killed in SCSO SWAT standoff says he experienced hallucinations, paranoia days prior

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 9:55 PM CST
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CORDOVA, Tenn. (WMC) - Twenty-year-old John Hunt held Shelby County deputies in a standoff and slow-speed chase before he was killed by a SWAT bullet.

Hunt’s family says he had been experiencing hallucinations and paranoia for the past several days.

The situation involving law enforcement and Hunt started on Houston Levee Road Tuesday at around 10:45 p.m. and didn’t end until around 2 a.m. Wednesday.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) says Shelby County deputies tried to pull over a vehicle that was involved in a situation in Millington earlier in the day.

Millington police say they advised officers to be on the lookout for Hunt’s vehicle because he had been to the station twice Tuesday to report an assault that happened in Memphis. Police told him the crime had to be reported in Memphis.

Police advised officers that Hunt was behaving erratically and had a weapon in the front seat of his vehicle.

Deputies spotted Hunt’s car on Houston Levee. According to TBI, Hunt pulled over, but would not get out, leading to a standoff.

Negotiations with Shelby County SWAT went on for an hour. Action News 5′s camera caught the moment when Hunt sped away from the scene, driving through a barricade of law enforcement vehicles. Deputies followed in a low-speed chase all the way to a dead-end road off Dexter in Cordova.

TBI says that’s where Hunt got out of the car with a weapon and a SWAT officer shot and killed him.

Hunt’s family says late last week, he began suffering from hallucinations and severe paranoia.

“He said ‘daddy I’ve been laced,’” said Hunt’s mother Shelly Hunt. “I’ve been smoking marijuana. Something’s wrong. They’re out to get me. Someone’s going to kill me.”

Shelly Hunt says the family took her son to a local hospital for help but he didn’t get the help he needed. His father, John Lockeridge, says his son called him during the standoff.

“He said ‘Daddy they’re going to kill me,” said Lockeridge. “The police have me surrounded.’ and I said son just get out of the car with your hands up and everything will be alright.”

Lockeridge says after speaking with Hunt, he immediately called 911.

“I said he won’t do anything to you,” said Lockeridge. “Yeah he has a weapon on him, but right now he’s not in his right mind. I said he needs help. Please don’t kill my child man. And the last thing he said to me was, ‘we got this.’”

Lockeridge says they have not spoken with police since Wednesday morning. Hunt’s family says he was a hard worker, an older brother, and student at the University of Memphis.

The TBI investigation is ongoing.

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