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TBI identifies man killed by SWAT officer in Cordova

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 8:28 PM CST
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CORDOVA, Tenn. (WMC) - Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) are investigating the events that caused a Shelby County SWAT officer to shoot and kill a man following a standoff and police chase in Cordova early Wednesday morning.

Investigators identified the man killed as 20-year-old John Hunt.

Hunt’s father says his son was suffering from a mental episode and needed help.

Action News 5 cameras captured the moment the driver of a black Honda Accord plowed right through a police barricade on Houston Levee and Pisgah Road.

Deputies rushed to get out of the way as the driver sped off. It was the beginning of what investigators describe as a “slow-speed chase” through neighborhoods in Cordova.

But investigators say it all began hours earlier when a man came to the Millington police station to file a report about an assault in Memphis.

Millington police say they told the man they could not take his report and told him he needed to contact Memphis police. They say he returned several hours later and tried to make a report once again.

That’s when officers say they noticed a rifle in the man’s car. They say they asked him to step out, but he sped off.

Millington police issued a “be on the lookout” (BOLO) alert for the man and the car. Later that night, at around 10:45 p.m., investigators say Shelby County deputies spotted the car on Houston Levee and Pisgah Road.

TBI says the driver, who they later identified as Hunt, refused to follow the deputies’ commands, leading to a standoff. They say Hunt breached the barricade and sped away from the scene about an hour later.

Once deputies and police caught up with Hunt on a dead-end road, they say he got out of the car with a weapon, resulting in a SWAT officer shooting him.

Investigators say Hunt died at the scene.

Hunt’s father, John Lockeridge, says his son suffered from a mental episode and needed help. He says his son called him Tuesday night, frightened and paranoid.

That’s when he says he got in touch with Shelby County deputies and told them the general whereabouts of his son.

“I said, ‘please don’t kill my child. He needs y’all help. He’s crying out. He needs help,’ [and] this is what I wake up to in the morning. They done killed my child,” said Lockeridge.

TBI says no other people were injured.

“TBI agents continue to work to independently determine the series of events leading to the shooting, including collecting evidence and conducting interviews,” said Keli McAlister, a TBI spokesperson.

TBI says after it gathers all of the information, it will present that to the Shelby County district attorney, who will determine whether the shooting was justified.

Authorities have not released the name of the officer who fired the shot.

Hunt’s father says his son also sought help at a local hospital but was released. He says authorities and the hospital should have done more to help him.

“He reached out for help, but nobody would help him,” said Lockridge. “As a parent, I wouldn’t care if my child was 35 years old. A parent knows their child. If something’s wrong with them, we tell you something wrong, you all should be able to do something to get him checked out.”

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