TBI probes fatal officer shooting of Etowah man

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday was called to investigate a shooting involving two law enforcement officers in McMinn County that left a 62-year-old man dead.

The shooting happened around 7 p.m. Tuesday at a home on County Road 909 about a half-mile east of Etowah's main road, Tennessee Avenue, when 10th Judicial District Drug Task Force agents arrived in connection with a drug investigation, according to a statement issued by the state agency.

"Initial reports indicate that when officers got to that location, Paul Eugene Armstrong came out of the home, holding a gun and pointing it at the officers," the TBI said. "At some point during this encounter, the two Task Force Agents, one from Athens Police Department and one from McMinn County Sheriff's Office, fired their weapons, striking Armstrong, who was pronounced deceased at the scene."

No officers were injured.

McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy said in a statement on the shooting issued on behalf of the sheriff's office, Athens police chief Cliff Couch and 10th Judicial Drug Task Force director Bill Cherry that the officers were serving a felony arrest warrant on Armstrong at the home. The drug task force is made up of officers from agencies within the 10th Judicial District.

Guy also said deputies worked an alleged overdose death at the same residence last week, recovering cash and suspected drugs.

"It is a difficult and unfortunate situation," Guy said. "Our prayers are with all those involved."

Guy said the officers who fired the shots are on leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

District Attorney General Steve Crump asked the TBI to investigate the shooting. Officers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol's Critical Incident Response Team are also assisting, officials said. All findings from the investigation will be turned over to Crump's office to review.

The officers involved were not identified.

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.