Chattanooga officer shot, killed

Chattanooga officer shot, killed

April 2nd, 2011 by Staff Report in News

The man suspected in the fatal shooting of a Chattanooga police officer Saturday is Jesse Matthews, a Colorado parolee and fugitive, police said this morning.

Sgt. James Timothy Chapin, 51, died and Officer Lorin Johnston was wounded in a gunbattle at after an armed robbery at the U.S. Money Shops at 5952 Brainerd Road.

Chapin, a 27-year veteran of the department worked in Delta patrol zone, which covers the U.S. Money Shops at 5952 Brainerd Road.

The source also confirmed the officer wounded in the incident is Officer Lorin D. Johnston Sr., 45. Johnston, an 11-year Chattanooga police veteran also works patrol in Delta zone.

Police officials said Johnston was treated and released from a local hospital.

Investigators from the Chattanooga Police Department and other agencies are working the roped-off scene of the shootings this afternoon.

Four women huddled close to the crime-scene tape, weeping. They wouldn't say immediately who they were or why they were there.

Chattanooga police said three to four officers responded to the U.S. Money Shop at 5952 Brainerd Road on an armed robbery call at about 10:30 a.m.

The suspect fired at police from the shop, then ran out a side door with police on foot and in cars in pursuit, authorities said.

The running gunbattle continued for about 200 yards before the suspect was captured.

The suspect is being treated in a local hospital. Police have not released his identification but say he is not from Chattanooga.

"It's the most tragic thing you can go through," police Chief Bobby Dodd said of the loss of a veteran officer. "He's a super nice guy. I have a lot of folks out here who are just numb at this point."

Dodd said six officers will be placed on administrative leave, standard in any police shooting case.

The chief said officers are heading up a joint investigation with the Collegedale police and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office to determine what happened. Police do not plan to release any further information until tomorrow, he said.

The last Chattanooga police officer to be killed in the line of duty was Officer Julie Jacks on May 6, 2002, according to newspaper archives.

For more details see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.