MARYVILLE, Tenn. — The Latest on the fatal shooting of a Tennessee police officer (all times local):
An eastern Tennessee man arrested after a shootout with police that left one officer dead has been charged with criminal homicide that could make him eligible for the death penalty if he is convicted.
Blount County Sherriff James Berrong says that Brian Keith Stalans has also been charged with four counts of aggravated assault related to the Thursday shootings, including for allegedly firing a gun into a home occupied by a child younger than 5 years old.
Berrong said Stalans had been locked out of the house when his father had been warned that he returning to the home with a firearm. The father called police, and the younger Stalans opened fire on officers who responded to the scene.
Officer Kenny Moats was fatally shot in the neck while taking cover behind his vehicle.
Blount County Sherriff James Berrong says he wishes he could “turn back the clock” on an initial visit to an eastern Tennessee home where a police officer was killed later in the day Thursday.
Authorities say Officer Kenny Moats was taking cover and waiting for backup when he was fatally shot in the neck by 44-year-old Brian Keith Stalans. The sheriff says the gunman had an active order of protection against him in another county, and had been flagged as a “dangerous individual” in the national crime database.
But the sheriff says deputies followed the law in deciding not to make an arrest when they responded to an earlier call Thursday about a domestic disturbance between the suspect and his father.
Authorities were called again to the home later Thursday by someone who described acts of violence and the involvement of a firearm. That’s when Moats was shot.
A police officer who was fatally shot responding to a dispute between a father and son in eastern Tennessee had been wearing a bullet-proof vest, but he was struck in the neck.
Authorities say Marysville Police Officer Kenny Moats was killed Thursday while responding to the second domestic disturbance call of the day at the home.
The Blount County Sheriff’s office says Moats and a deputy were able to get the father to safety and were taking cover behind their vehicles when the son opened fire from the garage, striking Moats from about 70 yards away.
The sheriff’s office says 44-year-old Brian Keith Stalans was arrested. Jail records do not indicate whether Stalans has an attorney.
The officer killed responding to a domestic disturbance in eastern Tennessee has been identified as 32-year-old Kenny Moats, a nine-year veteran of the Maryville Police Department.
According to Police Chief Tony Crisp, Moats had a stellar record with the department and had been assigned to the Fifth Judicial Drug Task force in May.
In Crisp’s words: “We know this tragedy will bring our community closer together, and that will be a lasting legacy of Officer Moats.”
The Blount County Sheriff says 44-year-old Brian Keith Stalans came out firing on a property in Maryville Thursday afternoon and fatally wounded Moats before being taken into custody.
Authorities say a police officer who was fatally shot in eastern Tennessee was responding to the second domestic disturbance in the same day at the home.
Blount County Sheriff James Berrong said officers lacked probable cause to take the suspect into custody the first time they were called to the home in Maryville, on Thursday morning. A second call that afternoon reported more violence, and a gun involved.
The sheriff’s office says 44-year-old Brian Keith Stalans came out firing and fatally wounded the officer before being taken into custody. Spokeswoman Marian O’Briant said charges were likely on Friday.
Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp said his officer had three small children. He was not immediately identified so that his family could be told first of his death.