DA: Man may have died from self-inflicted gunshot wound during incident with KCSO in Sevier County


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Sevier County District Attorney Jimmy Dunn says the man involved in what investigators initially thought to be a KCSO officer-involved shooting death may have actually died by his own weapon.

Dunn saying after reviewing the evidence, it is his opinion that the suspect may have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Officers did discharge their weapons, but, the man may have died from a wound administered by his own weapon – which he had raised to officers just before they fired.

The TBI identified the man as Norman Lowell Vandergriff, 42, of Knoxville. The TBI is still involved in the investigation because it is an officer-involved shooting; the investigation is ongoing.

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Officials with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation say one man has died following a Knox County Sheriff’s Office officer-involved shooting Thursday in Sevier County.

According to the TBI, preliminary investigation details reveal that on Thursday morning, deputies from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office received information that a male subject who had several outstanding arrest warrants out of Knox County was at a location in Sevier County.

Upon responding to the area, the KCSO officers encountered the man in a vehicle in the 1900 block of Happy Creek Road in Seymour.

The TBI saying preliminary information indicates that deputies approached the vehicle and tried to take the man into KCSO custody.

The man reportedly refused to comply with verbal commands and began resisting.

At some point during the confrontation with KCSO, the man allegedly showed a gun; resulting in deputies firing shots at the vehicle.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy will be performed at the Knox County Regional Forensic Center as part of the ongoing investigation.

No law enforcement officers were injured in the incident, according to the TBI.

“This remains an active and ongoing investigation, as TBI Special Agents continue to work to gather any and all relevant interviews and evidence. As in any case, TBI’s investigative findings will be shared with the District Attorney General throughout the process for his consideration and review.
As is our policy, the TBI does not identify the officers involved in these types of incidents and instead refers questions of that nature to their respective departments.”

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The Knox County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is to conduct an investigation of a Thursday officer-involved shooting in Sevier County that stemmed from a Knox County pursuit.

The shooting occurred on Happy Creek Road.

According to KCSO, its Warrants Unit was in Sevier County Thursday afternoon to serve multiple warrants to an individual.

The suspect fled from the KCSO officers.

Then, there was an officer-involved shooting.

No further details were available. The conditions of the officer(s) involved, or of the person whom they had been pursuing were unknown.

“The Tennessee Bureau Of Investigation (TBI) will be conducting the investigation and will also handle any future releases regarding the incident,” KCSO stated in its initial release on the incident.

WATE 6 On Your Side is working to learn more and will update when additional information from the TBI is released.

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