Sex offender shot to death in Cleveland, TN after daylight abduction

Sex offender shot to death in Cleveland, TN after daylight abduction

November 26th, 2014 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

Site of Cleveland, Tenn., fatal shooting.

Site of Cleveland, Tenn., fatal shooting.

Illustration by Laura McNutt /Times Free Press.

Robert Edwin Eaves

Robert Edwin Eaves

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

A kidnapped woman and three children were in the house where Cleveland, Tenn., police shot to death a convicted sex offender who lunged at them with a knife, authorities said.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is still piecing together what happened on Tuesday that led to the death of Robert Edwin Eaves, 51, a self-described "jack of all trades" who was convicted of attempted rape in 2006.

The TBI and Cleveland police said Eaves, who lived on Vista Drive NW, abducted a 28-year-old woman who lived nearby at about 11:30 a.m. -- broad daylight -- and took her to a house on Phillips Street, halfway across town and a few blocks off of South Lee Highway in Cleveland.

He took the woman inside the house, authorities said, where there were three children, including a 16-year-old baby sitter. It's not known what relationships, if any, Eaves had to any of the other people involved, but TBI officials said Eaves was threatening the safety of everyone in the home.

One of the children managed to call their mother, who called 911, authorities said. Cleveland police showed up in just minutes.

When the two officers, identified as 25-year-old Jacob Varnell and 45-year-old Jody Musselwhite, arrived at the Phillips Street address, Eaves pulled a knife and attempted to assault them, TBI officials said.

The officers drew their weapons and "one or both of the officers" fired on Eaves, killing him, the TBI said.

Eaves described himself on his Google+ page as a handyman and a 2011 graduate of Cleveland State Community College.

The TBI's Sex Offender Registry shows that Eaves was convicted in 2006 of criminal attempt to commit rape and that he was classified as an active and violent offender.

The TBI investigation is continuing. Standard practice is for officers who use deadly force to remain on administrative leave while the evidence is gathered and weighed.

Cleveland police spokeswoman Sgt. Evie West said the department has not had an officer-involved shooting in more than 10 years.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or twitter.com/BenBenton or www.facebook.com/ben.benton1.