Statement: KPD officer ‘violently’ choked, attacked by own Taser before fatally shooting man


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Knoxville Police Department officer at the center of a deadly shooting investigation released a statement via his attorney Monday that shared details of the event from his perspective.

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The statement was released “in an effort to more accurately inform the public of what happened,” and does not claim precedence over the official investigation currently underway.

According to the release, KPD Officer Dylan Williams contacted Channara Tom Pheap, 33, on Aug. 26, while investigating a hit-and-run by going to the residence of the registered owner of the vehicle that had fled the scene.

Williams identified himself as an officer when he encountered Pheap in the stairwell of the apartment complex; the physical description of both the vehicle and the suspect – matched that of Pheap, who refused to take his hands out of his pockets at Williams’ request, according to the statement.

Pheap was “looking around and acting very nervous” at the time of their initial encounter, and when Williams told Pheap he was going to initiate a pat-down to check him for weapons and started the pat-down, Pheap began to resist and fight Williams.

The statement reads, “the physical fight took what seemed like a very long time to Williams, who could not fully gain control of the suspect, nor radio for backup.”

Pheap got on top of Williams and began “to violently and forcefully attempt to choke” the officer, then “suddenly, the suspect got off of Williams and began to run away.”

Williams chased him down the stairs into a parking lot, “issued clear commands to the suspect to stop” and drawing his Taser.

Pheap stopped, and as Williams closed the gap between them and approached the Pheap, Pheap “jumped forward and was able to gain control of the Taser after a short struggle.”

RELATED: Authorities identify victim in Knoxville officer-involved shooting

The statement went on to say Pheap leveled the Taser at Williams and fired it. The tags of the Taser struck Williams in his waistband, the wires wrapped around his arms: “He could immediately feel electricity coursing through his body.”

Williams in the statement says he was too far from his patrol vehicle to deploy his K-9 officer partner, or to call for backup, so he “was left with no other choice than to fire his weapon twice while the suspect still maintained control of the Taser.”

After the two rounds were fired, the statement says Pheap fled, then ultimately collapsed.

“The suspect was shot once on the side of the body, contrary to initial reports,” the statement reads.

RELATED: One dead in officer-involved shooting on Merchant Drive

Williams, who is currently on standard-procedure paid administrative leave while Knox County Sheriff’s Office conducts the shooting investigation, is being represented by The Bosch Law Firm, P.C.

The statement said there will be no other or additional comments from Williams nor the law firm representing him.

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