Note: This story was last updated at 4 p.m. Feb. 16.
An Oak Ridge police officer was legally entitled to use lethal force against a man who was driving toward the officer when he was struck by two bullets after a police chase in October, Seventh Judicial District Attorney General Dave Clark said Thursday.
The shooting in the parking lot of the county courthouse and county offices on Emory Valley on October 8 killed Isaiah D. Ramirez, 36. The shooting was investigated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which is common in shootings that involve police officers. The case was assigned to TBI Agent Denise Woodby.
On Thursday, Clark announced that the investigation of the officer-involved shooting is complete. The investigation included a team of forensic scientists from the TBI Knoxville Violent Crime Response Team and forensic crime scene truck the day of the shooting, officer and witness statements, photographs and video recordings, laboratory testing and an autopsy, and evaluation of the crime scene and other observations, Clark said.
“Based upon the totality of the circumstances, Officer Nathan Gibson had a reasonable basis to believe at the time that the suspect, Isaiah Ramirez, posed a threat of death or serious bodily injury to him (Gibson),” Clark said in a press release. “Gibson met the requirement multiple times of verbally ordering Ramirez to stop. Thus, Gibson was legally entitled to use lethal force against Isaiah Ramirez. While gunshots were the immediate cause of Ramirez’s death, it was Ramirez’s own decisions and conduct that were responsible for his death. No criminal charges would be legal or appropriate against Officer Nathan Gibson.”
The results of the investigation were sent to Oak Ridge Police Chief Robin Smith. Among the findings, according to Clark: Ramirez, who had warrants for his arrest, fled from police in a pickup truck on Cumberland View Drive and forced two officers to jump out of his way to avoid being struck and narrowly missed another; drove around police trying to stop him and did not comply with verbal orders to stop, including from an officer who had his firearm drawn, or with police lights and sirens in a residential area and then down Emory Valley Road; and drove toward Gibson, who was standing with his weapon pointed at Gibson in the parking lot of the county courthouse and offices on Emory Valley Road. [Read more…]