TBI probes exchange of gunfire between McMinn County deputies, suspect

TBI probes exchange of gunfire between McMinn County deputies, suspect

May 21st, 2019 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

The TBI is investigating an incident in McMinn County, Tennessee, in which deputies and a suspect exchanged gunfire, leading to a two-hour standoff Monday night.

The incident began around 8:30 p.m. Monday on County Road 67, according to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesman Josh DeVine.

McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy said there had been a report that a man, identified as 37-year-old Nicholas Boyd Nunley, shot at a relative while stealing a car in Riceville on state Highway 39 West.

"A few minutes later deputies made contact with the suspect, Nick Nunley, parked on County Road 73," Guy said in a Facebook post. "As deputies drove up, Nunley pointed a handgun at them and sped away."

After a short vehicle pursuit, Nunley drove off into a field and fled from his vehicle, and as officers continued on foot Nunley fired several shots at the deputies, Guy said. Two of the deputies returned fire, he said.

Nunley barricaded himself in a building, which the TBI described as a "bathhouse," on the property. After an almost two-hour standoff, deputies used an armored vehicle to bash into the bathhouse and took Nunley into custody, the sheriff said.

The scene on County Road 67 is a few hundred yards south of Highway 39, just east of U.S. Highway 11 in Riceville.

McMinn County Jail records show Nunley is charged with possession and/or carrying a weapon, a felony. No bond was listed.

"One deputy sustained a minor leg injury during the entry and arrest," the sheriff said.

"Law enforcement is at times very dangerous and life threatening," Guy said in his post. "I am thankful that my officers used good tactics and are able to go home to their families tonight. The situation was resolved with the best outcome for all involved."

McMinn County's online jail records show Nunley has arrests in McMinn County dating back to October 2002 when he was about 21. Those arrests are not described in jail records, and how they were resolved is unknown.

DeVine said TBI agents continue to gather evidence and conduct interviews in the ongoing investigation. Investigative findings will be passed along to 10th Judicial District Attorney General Steve Crump for his review and consideration.

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