Wife of man killed by police believes husband committed ‘suicide by cop’


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — After reaching out to News Channel 11, Jeana Gregory said she believes her husband’s death was a case of “suicide by cop.”

Her husband, Kevin Catlett, was fatally shot by Johnson City police on McArthur Street on Tuesday evening.

The incident began when officers responded to a report of a domestic disturbance involving an intoxicated man armed with a gun.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said according to preliminary information, officers found Catlett in the middle of the street armed with a gun and ordered him to drop the weapon, but he refused. At some point, he reportedly pointed the gun at police, leading to at least one officer shooting him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Thursday evening, Gregory told News Channel 11’s Anslee Daniel that the past six years of her relationship with Catlett had not been easy.

“He does have…did have issues with alcohol and after a little while, he just like flipped,” she said. According to Gregory, she called the police after an argument turned violent.

Two Johnson City police officers responded to the call.

“He looked the most peaceful I’d ever seen him when he was laying out in the road… after he was shot,” Gregory said tearfully. “It was the most peaceful I ever saw him.”

Gregory says her husband had a rough life, running away from home at the age of 12 and ending up in jail more than once. She says he had been admitted for inpatient behavior care twice this year, as recently as the week leading up to his death.

“I don’t want anybody to think that I’m standing up for what he did when he went out in the road with a weapon and pointed at the police officers,” she said. “They have a job to do. My husband loved to watch Live PD when it was on and he knew. I think he committed suicide by cop, honestly.”

“I don’t believe that the police did anything wrong but maybe couldn’t they…couldn’t they have shot him in the shoulder that was holding the gun then maybe the gun would’ve dropped out of his hand and he wouldn’t have had it anymore. He was already one-legged, could they not have shot his other leg out from under him?”

The TBI’s investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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