An investigation conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and District Attorney General Dave Clark has concluded an Oak Ridge police officer was justified when he shot and killed a suspect following a police pursuit in October 2018.
A report from Clark’s office says Oak Ridge police learned on October 8 that Isaiah Ramirez, 36, had outstanding warrants and was at a home on Cumberland View Drive where he had been contracted to make home renovations. Ramirez was wanted for aggravated burglary, domestic assault and violation of probation. He was on probation for aggravated assault.
Police had been searching for Ramirez for several days and say he had a history of fleeing from police and resisting arrest.
After learning from a witness that Ramirez knew he was wanted and did not want to prison, six officers and a K9 went to the home to arrest Ramirez. The report says officers approached Ramirez, who was outside and near the open door of a pickup truck with an attached trailer, and ordered him to stop. Instead, Ramirez got into the truck and started the engine.
Officers used their collapsible batons to hit and break some of the truck’s windows, but he still sped off.
Other officers tried to block the road, but the report says Ramirez drove around them. It says he drove the truck and trailer over the curb and toward Officer Kyle Scott, who was outside his vehicle in a private yard. Scott drew his pistol and pointed it at Ramirez as other officers ordered Ramirez to stop. Ramirez did not stop and narrowly avoided hitting Scott. Scott did not fire.
Extra: Read the full report [PDF]
Officers continued to pursue Ramirez. At one point, the report says he swerved the truck toward Sgt. Jeremy Huddleston who was trying to pass Ramirez in order to get in front and box him in. Huddleston eventually did so, but Ramirez swerved into the parking lot of the Anderson County courthouse, circling several parked transit buses and light poles.
The report says Ramirez briefly stopped his vehicle and Officer Nathan Gibson got out of his car and pointed his gun at Ramirez. Ramirez briefly put the car into reverse, at which point Gibson ordered him to stop. Ramirez then put the vehicle into drive and started driving toward Gibson. Gibson fired three shots into the vehicle, which hit Gibson in the leg causing him to stumble backward.
Another officer put her vehicle in drive and hit Ramirez’s vehicle in an effort to keep him from running over Gibson. Ramirez’s vehicle hit a transit bus and came to a stop.
Ramirez was taken to a nearby hospital where he died, according to the report.
Gibson was also evaluated at the hospital for his injuries.
TBI and the DA’s office reviewed video from police vehicles as well as two security cameras in the courthouse parking lot, which they say corroborated accounts from the officers and witnesses.
An autopsy showed that Ramirez had been shot twice and had a number of drugs in his system. There was also a large number of pills in the truck.
The report concludes that Ramirez had been warned numerous times by multiple officers and was willing to use a vehicle to assault or endanger officers and that Gibson had a reasonable basis to conclude that Ramirez posed a threat of death of serious bodily harm. No charges will be filed against Gibson.