Roger Heard Jr. "fired multiple shots at point blank range" at an officer before police shot him in an exchange of gunfire at a Chattanooga gas station on the evening of Aug. 11, according to a statement Sunday from Hamilton County District Attorney Coty Wamp.
Wamp also released security camera footage from the incident, which left a Chattanooga police officer injured and resulted in Heard's death.
Heard shot investigator Celtain Batterson, striking him in his right arm, according to Wamp. Batterson was later taken to a hospital. Per protocol, Batterson and two other officers, Nicholas Ayres and Christopher Dyess, were placed on paid administrative leave in connection with the shooting, according to the Chattanooga Police Department.
On Aug.11, Wamp said, investigators with the Chattanooga Police Department's gun team, along with other partnering agencies, were attempting to locate "multiple dangerous offenders" for the purpose of serving warrants, one of which was Heard.
Warning: Graphic and violent content
"Heard is a violent felon, a known drug dealer and a gang member," the DA said in a news release.
He has served time in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm, Wamp said, and has felony convictions in Hamilton and Bradley counties. At the time officers encountered him Aug. 11, he had outstanding felony warrants out of Knox County.
Investigators were at the Speedway gas station at Holtzclaw Avenue and Third Street after receiving credible information about Heard's location, Wamp said, and that he would be "participating in illegal drug transactions." Police observed him parked at the pump and approached him to serve the outstanding warrants and arrest him.
The security camera videos show an unmarked police vehicle stopping in front of Heard's car after he leaves a gas pump berth at the station. Wamp said Ayers and Batterson were "loudly and repeatedly announcing themselves as police officers" and were wearing police badges on their tactical belts.
Another police vehicle with its lights on pulled in behind Heard's car. In plain clothes, Batterson could be seen approaching Heard's car with his gun pointed at Heard.
"As Batterson approaches, Heard can be seen reaching for an object — what we now know to be a firearm — with his right arm," Wamp's release said.
Batterson opened Heard's driver-side door, which Heard kicked out toward Batterson, the video shows. The footage does not have sound.
"Batterson attempted to open the suspect's vehicle door and at that time the suspect made a kicking movement in Batterson's direction, raised his right arm and fired multiple shots at point blank range in Batterson's direction, striking him in the right arm," the release said. "Batterson instantly retreated before being able to respond with gunfire."
Heard ran from the vehicle while officers fired at him. Another angle showed Heard stumbling to the ground. He tried to get up again before falling.
"As the video shows, Heard was purposefully traveling in the direction of Batterson, and still armed, when he was met with gunfire from Batterson and other law enforcement officers," Wamp said.
Heard had a "large amount of cash" on him, about one pound of marijuana in his vehicle and his firearm was stolen in Chattanooga in 2022, according to Wamp. Because he's a felon, Wamp said, it's unlawful for him to possess any type of firearm.
"On the night of August 11, 2023, Heard was committing a litany of felony offenses, all of which are overshadowed by his attempt to gun down a law enforcement officer at point-blank range," Wamp said.
"The officers involved in this incident, like so many officers are required to do, were forced to make split-second decisions under extreme stress and pressure," she added later. "Investigator Batterson, Investigator Ayers, and Officer Dyess did the exact job that they were called and trained to do. Our community is fortunate beyond measure that we did not lose a law enforcement officer."
Wamp said investigators pieced together the details of the incident through examination of the crime scene, witness interviews and video footage. The footage released Sunday is owned by a private company in a different state and was made available to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation after a subpoena, the DA said.
"It is not CPD protocol for investigators to be equipped with body worn cameras, therefore, no body worn camera was able to capture the attempted murder of Investigator Batterson," Wamp said. "As no investigation can be complete in just over a week's time, the investigation remains ongoing."
The shooting happened at around 9:40 p.m. at a Speedway gas station. Heard was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital.
The footage shows the incident from two angles. There's also a close-up shot at half speed of Batterson opening the door before Heard kicks it and flees the vehicle. There were about a dozen other cars parked at the gas station.
In the second angle, other police vehicles moved into the parking lot with their lights on as Batterson's unmarked police car pulled in front of Heard's vehicle, blocking it. After Heard fired at Batterson, Batterson could be seen taking cover behind a gas pump while Heard ran toward him and fell to the ground.
Batterson pointed his weapon at Heard again. The footage then blurred Heard's body as Batterson stepped behind a police vehicle and another officer moved in.
More police vehicles arrived on the street as a group of officers gathered around Heard. They appeared to be administering medical aid. An ambulance pulled in approximately nine minutes later and first responders brought in a stretcher.
Batterson received intensive surgery Wednesday. He is a nine-year veteran of the police force and was one of 15 officers placed on leave for several weeks last year for past allegations of untruthfulness. Ayres has been with the department for five years and Dyess for about four.
At Wamp's request, TBI has been handling the investigation, the Chattanooga Police Department said. The agency handles investigations into most of the state's use-of-force cases.
Family and community members, including the local NAACP, have been calling on law enforcement to release more information and video from the incident, including footage from police body cameras and dashboard cameras as well as security footage from the gas station.
Almost 100 people filled the chamber at a Chattanooga City Council meeting Tuesday seeking answers about the killing. They left after Vice Chair Jenny Hill, of North Chattanooga, said there wouldn't be any questions answered at the meeting. Police Chief Celeste Murphy and a few members of her leadership team spoke with Heard's family outside the chambers. Many demonstrators wore purple in honor of Heard, who also went by Mac Purp.
In a statement last Thursday, Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly asked the community to be patient and avoid jumping to conclusions, noting that information would be limited for a time as TBI completes a third-party review of the incident.
"The frustration we saw and heard Tuesday night at City Council and on the steps of City Hall was clear and consistent with much of what I heard through the course of my campaign: We are working hard to build trust between our police department and the community," Kelly said. "Chief Celeste Murphy's demonstrated commitment to community policing was a major factor in my decision to hire her, and I have full confidence in her ability to help us navigate difficult situations like these."
A spokesperson for Kelly said Sunday the mayor's office has no comment until the investigation is complete. Ann Pierre, president of the local chapter of the NAACP, said in a phone call that she was watching the footage and the organization had not yet had time to process the information.
"This is a lot to take in," she said.