A Hamblen County deputy is thankful to be alive after a man allegedly fired shots at him Thursday night.
The TBI identified that man as Christopher Deel, 32, from Virginia. Deel now faces attempted first degree murder and felony reckless endangerment charges.
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The sheriff’s department says Deel took deputies on a pursuit that started in Knox County and into Hamblen County.
The TBI said during that chase, Deel took out a handgun and shot at the four deputies following him.
Det. Sgt. David Stapleton’s car was struck by one of the bullets. It was a remarkable location considering if the bullet hit just a few inches lower, it could have been deadly.
“If it hit the windshield it would have come down right into my face,” Stapleton said.
Stapleton was pursuing Deel on Thursday, after the TBI says Hamblen County deputies got word of a stolen truck out of Jefferson County.
They say Deel took out a handgun and fired shots.
“I noticed him during the pursuit, that he is messing with something in the front seat of the truck. And probably 10 to 15 seconds later he shoots out the back window, and just fires 4 rounds automatically, and I can hear each round,” said Stapleton.
The moment was captured on dash cam footage.
“In the moment I was thinking he’s shooting at me. He just shot at me. I did not hear the bullet strike the vehicle. I heard the shots. We continued the pursuit,” Stapleton said.
The situation proved to Stapleton his job is unpredictable, but more than anything, proved just how thankful he is to be alive.
“Feeling very blessed. Thank the Lord for it, He was with me and nobody got hurt,” he said. “I’m blessed and lucky to be here today, that’s all there is to it.”
Stapleton said he’s asking that the department actually not fix the damage from the bullet on his car. He said he wants to keep it as a reminder every day how lucky he is.
Meanwhile, Deel was booked into the Hamblen County jail on one count of attempted first degree murder and three counts of felony reckless endangerment.
His bond was set at $1.6 million.