published Friday, January 7th, 2011

Sheriff seeks full investigation of shooting by deputy

Despite preliminary information that shows the shooting of a suspect by a Hamilton County sheriff's deputy was accidental, a thorough investigation must occur, Sheriff Jim Hammond said.

Deputy Mike Thompson, a narcotics officer with the department for at least five years, is on administrative leave during the investigation, said sheriff's spokeswoman Janice Atkinson.

Thompson was carrying an assault rifle Wednesday as he entered an apartment at 7301 East Brainerd Road. He and other deputies were serving a warrant for drug charges on 22-year-old Cecil Vance.

When Thompson was entering the second-floor apartment, he tripped, firing one round from his rifle and striking Vance in the left leg. Vance was taken to a local hospital with a wound that wasn't life-threatening, Atkinson said.

Deputies who are issued assault rifles are trained with the weapon and must qualify in its use just as they are with the department-issued pistol, Hammond said. Use of weapons depends chiefly on the decision of each operation's supervisor, he said.

"Supervisors make this call in what we call a pre-raid when they look over the evidence they have, what they're likely to encounter when they move in on that call," Hammond said.

Department procedure dictates that an officer will disengage the weapon's safety when ready to move in, he said.

"You don't want to disengage it after the firing starts," he said.

In Thompson's case, internal affairs officers will investigate how each phase was of the operation was handled, the sheriff said.

"Was this a timely call for the use of this firearm?" Hammond asked. "Internal affairs will review each and every step to make sure everything was done properly."

Hammond said Vance and the other apartment resident, Samantha Heather Cronin, 22, would be taken into custody on charges of felony possession of drug paraphernalia, manufacturing marijuana and simple possession of marijuana.

Neither Vance nor Cronin was listed in court records or jail booking reports as of Thursday night.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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Assault weapons drawn to arrest a pot head? Really?? Another example of the abject failure of the "War on Drugs".

January 7, 2011 at 9:15 a.m.
Big_Myth said...

From a very early age my siblings and I were taught gun safety. One of the lessons driven home most was you never pointed a gun at or in the direction of someone unless you intended to fire it. Why was this officer's gun not held in an upward position? Like Old_Liberial, why was such a weapon needed in the first place?

More citizens have been either injured or killed by botched drug raids in this so called WAR ON DRUGS than most any other citizen encounters with law enforcement.

January 7, 2011 at 10:46 a.m.
concernedmom said...

Seriously???? Can you 2 read??? First off Hippie, your name says it all just because you found it cool to light up and get wasted on pot that doesn't mean the rest of us do or want our children exposed to it. I am not an idiot who lives in a bubble and surround my children by one, but I can honestly say I am relieved and proud of our police who keep our community safe. They are trained and if they feel like this guy who has had previous criminal charges warrented the use of a gun I for one and very glad they decide to protect themselves and I'm sure their families rest easy because of this too. Big_Myth, he tripped, I'm sure the investigation will reveal that this officer possesses the knowledge and competence to carry a weapon since he is a decorated officer and has fought drugs in our community for 5 years. If you 2 want to comment on a decorated community serviceman I suggest you research before you start bashing those who risk their lives for us.

January 7, 2011 at noon
XGSBoss said...

I want to personally thank each and every level-headed police officer in town that knows how to handle their weapon. I want to thank the ones that don't need tactical teams to serve warrants on marijuana growers that live in APARTMENTS.

Have it tripped? You bet! Was I carrying an ASSAULT RIFLE and came within inches from ending a life? No, can't say that I was.

Thompson gets a paid vacation, and Vance gets reason to completely appreciate every day he's lucky enough to wake up and see from now on. I guess it ain't all bad. Right.

January 7, 2011 at 2:59 p.m.
BOOBOO99 said...

Accidents Happen!!! I dont know why everyone is making a big deal about it just some drug head useless person that got shot...People who does illegal drugs dont need to be on this earth anyway...I know this one guy he use brag about smoking pot..The idiot learn the hard way what drugs will do to ya. The poor idiot is 6 feet under No excuses people do illegal drugs they are loserrrrss.

January 7, 2011 at 4:34 p.m.
GARRS said...

I dont know who is writing these ridicilous word problems, but I wish you had them up your arse.

I was sodomized in a safe house. I have no sympathy for the officer, or the target.

January 7, 2011 at 6:50 p.m.
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