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An attempted robbery on Brainerd Road evolved into a police chase with a stolen squad car Saturday night, leaving one suspect in police custody and another dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Chattanooga police said two men attempted to rob the Tiffany Nails in the 5500 block of Brainerd Road at approximately 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Police were able to catch one suspect, 46-year-old Darrel Roberts, at approximately 7 p.m. after locating him at the CVS Pharmacy on Brainerd Road. Officers then found the second man in a room at the adjacent Economy Inn and exchanged gunfire with him.
Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd in a news conference late Saturday night in the CVS parking lot that officers were trying to negotiate with him before he shot at officers. But the man slipped out, striking a sergeant in the head, and stole the squad car with the first suspect inside. The injured officer required stitches, Dodd said.
The robbery suspect sped south on Interstate 75 with as many as 15 to 20 squad cars in pursuit. Witnesses said the lead car, piloted by the suspect, did not have its sirens or lights on.
"They kept coming and coming," said Scott Kennedy, who witnessed the chase take off from a shopping center on Brainerd Road. "At least a half-dozen came from behind me. In two minutes, they were all gone."
The chase ended in Dalton, Ga., when the second suspect skidded off the road and almost crashed the car. A Whitfield County police officer used intervention techniques to stop the vehicle, and was able to free Roberts from the back seat before the driver shot himself to death at approximately 7:30 p.m., Dodd said.
He said police were not sure of the dead man's identity late Saturday night, and he was unable to say how much money, if any, was taken from Tiffany Nails.
As of Saturday night, the major crimes unit was investigating on scene, and Chattanooga's property crimes unit was investigating the robbery at Tiffany Nails.
Contact staff writer Jeff LaFave at email@example.com or 423-757-6592.