A South Pittsburg man was taken into federal custody Sunday on firearms charges stemming from the April 26 shooting of a South Pittsburg police officer, officials said.
Federal authorities took custody of Courtney Gaines after his release from Erlanger hospital where he was treated for a gunshot wound, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chattanooga.
Mr. Gaines, 29, was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, officials said.
According to an affidavit filed Friday in U.S. District Court, Mr. Gaines pleaded guilty in 2002 to selling cocaine and to selling drugs in a school zone.
Authorities identified Mr. Gaines as the man who shot Officer Jeff Stevens after officers investigated two disturbances near the town fire hall at the end of the National Cornbread Festival.
According to federal court records, Mr. Stevens was chasing Mr. Gaines on foot when the suspect turned and fired five shots. Mr. Stevens was struck in the arm and leg and rounds hit his bulletproof vest, records state. Another officer shot Mr. Gaines in the lower abdomen.
Records state that a trauma nurse at Erlanger who treated Mr. Gaines found a small bag of marijuana and an unfired 9 mm bullet in his clothing. The gun used to shoot Mr. Stevens was a 9 mm Ruger P-89 semiautomatic pistol, records state.
South Pittsburg Police Chief Mark Garner said Mr. Stevens, a reserve officer, was “doing well” in his recovery. Chief Garner said he couldn’t comment on the case because the TBI is handling the investigation.
TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said the state has not charged Mr. Gaines in the shooting and was unaware Mr. Gaines was in custody on federal charges. She said the state’s investigation is continuing.
TBI agents will submit the results of their investigation to the district attorney, who will decide whether to present it to the grand jury, she said.
Mr. Gaines is being held without bond at the Hamilton County Jail, according to jail officials.
Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...