JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL)- News Channel 11 has obtained body camera video that shows moments leading up to a deadly officer-involved shooting last March.
We want to warn you, the video above is intense as we show video from a Jonesborough Police Officer’s body camera as they are running toward the suspect, 26-year-old Mark Clinton Harrell, Jr., moments before the shooting happened.
We have paused the video before the shooting occurred but allowed the audio to play out in its entirety.
It was in March 2018 when the Jonesborough Department of Public Safety reports they were called to the Country Inn and Suites around 12:41 p.m. to check on a person who was causing a disturbance.
This person, police said, had been banned from the facility.
The inn is located along East Jackson Boulevard/Highway 11E. When officers arrived, they said they found a suspect in the parking lot — armed with a knife. The suspect attempted to run away and police pursued him, according to a report.
Officers report they chased the suspect over E. Jackson Boulevard and ended in the 400 block.
Police said they gave the suspect orders to drop the weapon, but he did not comply.
The TBI reports that during the confrontation, the suspect moved toward one of the officers with a knife. The TBI says the “situation further escalated and resulted in the officer firing his service weapon,“ striking the suspect.
On Monday, News Channel 11′s Caroline Corrigan sat with Jonesborough Police Chief Ron Street, who discussed the incident for the first time on-camera.
Chief Street said the officer in the video was carrying a bean bag gun.
“If you look at the videos, she raised the weapon, getting ready to fire the bean bag, he looked at her,” Street said. “Thats when he decided to charge the officer before they were able to deploy the bean bag.”
It’s an incident caught on camera by people in the middle of the intersection.
“The officers were left with no choice in this situation they either fire upon with a weapon or personally attacked with a knife, something that made them fear for their own life.“
Last year, many people on social media scrutinized the officers, questioning why the officers didn’t use a taser.
At the time, Chief Street said the department didn’t have tasers. He said plans were in the works but the funding wasn’t secured until this year.
“We’ve purchased one for every officer here,” Street said.
We asked Chief Street is he thinks tasers would have made a difference in this incident.
“Well it could of, it could of not,” Street said. “It depends, a taser is something that has to hit right.”
In this incident, Chief Street said he stands by his officer’s decision to fire his weapon.
“Sometimes the officers are put in a position that you don’t have a lot of time to think about these things,” Street said. “Instantaneously, you have to make a decision. Unfortunately sometimes it does result in the death of the offender.”
Chief Street said the department spent about $20,000 on 16 tasers for each officer.