Officer-involved shooting leaves one man dead, officer hurt

Officer-involved shooting leaves one man dead, officer hospitalized

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Officer Brian Leatherwood (Source: Knoxville Police Department) Officer Brian Leatherwood (Source: Knoxville Police Department)
Paul Capps, 47, was fatally shot by a KPD officer Friday night (Source: Family) Paul Capps, 47, was fatally shot by a KPD officer Friday night (Source: Family)

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - One man is dead after an officer-involved shooting in Knoxville Friday night.

Officials say an assault call came in just before 11 p.m. at a residence on Probus Road. The wheelchair-bound victim told dispatchers that she was being assaulted by her son.

Knoxville Police Officer Brian Leatherwood was the first to respond to the scene. He is a 13-year veteran of the department.

"Officer Leatherwood approached the apartment, began a conversation with the female victim," said Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch. "At that time he was assaulted by the suspect."

The suspect has been identified as 47-year-old Paul Capps.

"During the assault the suspect managed to get the officer's flashlight," said Chief Rausch. "He started to assault the officer with the flashlight. During that, the officer attempted to use the taser to subdue the suspect. The taser was ineffective and the suspect continued his assault on the officer. Then the officer had no other choice at that point and he had to resort to lethal force."

Capps died on the scene.

Neighbor Morissa Davis was outside when the officer arrived.

"He went inside, shut the door," said Davis, "Not even a minute later I hear bang, bang, so I just had a feeling he was dead."

Officer Leatherwood was taken to UT Medical Center with multiple head lacerations. The suspect's mother was uninjured during the assault, but was taken to the hospital on unrelated medical issues.

Chief Rausch said the family told them Capps suffered from schizophrenia and was not on his medications. Neighbors say they knew Capps had mental health issues, but say he was always nice to them.

"I was like, this can't be real," said neighbor Jordan Nelson. "We were just talking to Paul last night. He shook our hand."

"I don't feel like he did anything wrong," said Davis. "He doesn't seem like that kind of a person. He was a nice guy."

Chief Rausch said they have responded to two domestic calls to this home this year, but both of those incidents were resolved peacefully. He said they never expected any danger there. He hopes other families who deal with mental illness can learn from this incident.

"Families have to realize when they have someone in their family that's ill that needs help," said Chief Rausch. "They need to seek that help."

"I wish I could have been up here when the police pulled up to let him know that he has a problem," said Davis. "He's not right in the head."

Officer Leatherwood has now been put on paid administrative leave until a full investigation into the shooting is complete.

A special memorial will be held for Paul Capps outside his home Saturday night at 8:30 p.m.

Leatherwood is the son-in-law of Knoxville radio personality Dave Foulk. On Saturday, Foulk commented on the incident on his facebook page:

"Brian's name has been released by the KPD, so I'm now able to tell you why I was asking for prayer for our family.

Our son-in-law, Brian was involved in a shooting last night. KPD says he was savagely attacked by a man who managed to get Brian's metal flashlight. The taser had no effect, and the attack continued. More blows with the metal flashlight. Brian ended it with gunfire from his service weapon. The attacker was killed.

Brian has serious head and body injury. The doctor at UTMC says he stopped counting at fifty stitches. I saw him at the hospital. His head swabbed in a bandage, in a neck brace, and his uniform covered in his own blood. Somehow "non life-threatening" injury does little justice to the pain Brian has right now.

Sarah prays every night for the safety of her daddy. We all do. Those prayers were answered last night. And I am so proud of my brave son-in-law. And I am proud of my son and daughter who came to their sister's side.

I have a good family. I love every one of them. And I have already thanked God that one of my loved ones was able to come home last night.

Thanks each and every one of you for your prayers, especially intercessory prayers when I could not say what was happening."

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