GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – A Cocke County corrections officer is dead following an officer-involved shooting at a Lowe’s in Greenville on Monday afternoon.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has taken lead on this incident. According to TBI, Greeneville police got a call Monday evening regarding a “hit and run” in the parking lot of Lowe’s off East Andrew Johnson Highway.
TBI spokesperson, Leslie Earhart, said 29-year-old Travis Mullins was reportedly targeting a woman he had been dating. Investigators said Mullins was carrying a weapon and was disarmed by Greeneville Police, but he was able to get to his car to grab a second gun.
Police told News Channel 11 that Travis Mullins pointed the gun at an officer and the officer shot him, killing him at the scene.
However, Cocke County Sheriff, Armando Fontes, said this doesn’t sound like the man he’s known the past 3 years. “He was a dedicated, honest, hardworking employee who loved his job. He was a dedicated father who loved his children and his family,” said Sheriff Fontes.
Mullins began working in the Cocke County corrections department in August of 2017. During an interview, Sheriff Fontes said he knew Mullins well, and that these actions were uncharacteristic of him but he did tell News Channel 11 that Mullins was dealing with some personal issues, but he said he never imagined those struggles would lead to violence.
“He recently had some personal struggles that he and I spoke about and unfortunately he made some irrational decisions that forced a Greeneville City Police officer to defend himself and others. He was a young man that struggled to make ends meet that had just everyday family issues that different people go through and part of our job is to not only supervise and manage our people but to be there and mentor them and be there for them through these struggles,” said Sheriff Fontes.
While Cocke County is cooperating in the TBI’s investigation, they do so while mourning the loss of a colleague. “We have a lot of officers who are sad because they worked closely with Travis and he genuinely was a good man and a good person who was very dedicated,” said Sheriff Fontes.
Sheriff Fontes and his staff say their hearts go out to all of those involved and while they’re morning the loss of Travis Mullins, they said they are thankful no one else was injured. However, they do remember Mullins for his good deeds and ask that others do the same.
“We can not judge a person by one single action and one single event where their uncharacterized behavior results in doing something that in turn results in their own death,” said Sheriff Fontes.
The TBI is still actively investigating this incident and has not released any specific information regarding the identity or the relationship of the woman Mullins was said to be targeting.
As far as the officers involved in the shooting, Greeneville assistant Police Chief, Michael Crum, told News Channel 11 that the police chief has the authority to place an officer on paid administrative leave at his discretion and added that the decision is made on a case by case basis.
One of the Greeneville officers involved in this case will return to work Wednesday, February 19th, while the other had scheduled time off and will return to work next week.
News Channel 11 also reached out to Lowe’s corporate for a statement on the matter and the sent us this statement: “We are actively assisting law enforcement with their investigation. Because this is an active investigation, we’re unable to share additional details.”