DA: Knoxville officer justified in shooting, killing woman who had knife

Local News

A report from Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen says she determined a Knoxville police officer was justified and acting in self defense when he shot and killed a woman late last year who approached them with a knife at a South Knoxville home.

“I have reviewed all of the relevant reports, transcripts, statements, photographs, videos and evidence collected by your agency,” wrote Allen in a memo to Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler, whose department was handling the investigation. “Upon my review, I conclude that the above referenced officer’s actions were subjectively and objectively justified.”

Previous story: Woman dies after being shot by police officer in South Knoxville

Sierra McCauley, 23, was shot by officers on November 26 after Knoxville police responded to multiple calls of a woman cutting herself on Compton Street in South Knoxville.

Allen’s memo says another woman reported McCauley was suicidal and had attacked her with a knife. Other neighbors became involved as McCauley was wandering around outside nude with a knife, cutting herself. Callers to 911 said she was cutting herself, had doused herself with lighter fluid and had tried to set herself on fire.

Officers arrived and tried to get her to drop the knife, but dashcam footage shows that she ignored those commands. The memo says, in front of several witnesses, McCauley raised the knife and charged at Officer James Gadd, leading him to shoot her once, which caused her death.

Allen said she was closing the investigation as a justifiable homicide.

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