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Staff photo by Tim Barber/ Corey Glaze sits behinde a Bible and Bible study book with bullet damage Monday In Dalton, as he talks about the uncertain circumstances when his father, James Hilton Glaze, was shot and killed in his home by Hamilton County Sheriff's Office deputies, Sept. 14, 2019, in Collegedale.

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Corey Glaze on father's shooting

Corey Glaze was on his way back to Atlanta from California when he got a frantic call from his mother saying his father had pulled out a gun.

She was worried he'd hurt himself.

James Hilton Glaze, 76, had a history of strokes, and his wife was concerned he may have had another one. He hadn't been communicating for the past few days.

Corey Glaze told his mom that police needed to be called, but she asked him not to.

Hoping they would help de-escalate the situation and remove the guns from the household, he called anyway.

On the phone with dispatch, he begged them to call him as soon as they arrived.

But he never got a call.

A short time later, the elder Glaze was dead, shot 14 times.

 

THE SHOOTING

For months, Corey Glaze said his family has been in the dark amid the investigation, which has been completed and is now on District Attorney Neal Pinkston's desk for review.

It was around 2 p.m. on Sept. 14 when a 911 call came in about a suicidal person at a home in the 7900 block of Sue Drive in Ooltewah, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Sharon Heald told her son that she and James Glaze were in their living room — he in a recliner — when several deputies entered their front door and at least four more deputies entered through the back door.

While the TBI initially said only six deputies were involved in the shooting, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office confirmed that at least seven of their personnel — Sgt. Mickey Rountree, Cpl. Breeland Kilgore and deputies Nick Dewey, Charlene Choate, Hunter Moore, Todd Cook and Joseph Sanchez — responded to the scene.

It was then, according to investigators, that James Glaze "produced a weapon and pointed it at the deputies."

They opened fire.

He was hit once in the head, twice in the neck, eight times in the torso, once in the arm, once in the arm and torso, and once in the shoulder and chest, according to the autopsy.

He died at the scene.

 

A STORY DISPUTED

James Glaze's family disputes he pointed the gun at deputies.

His son alleges the deputies didn't let his mother explain James Glaze's health conditions: the possible stroke and his inability to speak.

The autopsy report also notes his brain had mild atrophy, which could have been caused by a stroke.

While investigators have said James Glaze pointed his gun at deputies, Corey Glaze said his mother told him she did not see the gun when deputies arrived. It had been stored in the side pocket of the recliner. And even so, Corey Glaze said, the gun would have been too heavy for his father, who struggled holding a glass of water, to point it at anyone.

Heald was escorted first to her bedroom and then outside to sit in a chair just outside the front door, Corey Glaze said. The door was left ajar.

Within a few seconds, she heard one gunshot.

"And then the bullets went flying," Corey Glaze said.

Through the cracked door, Heald watched her husband's head fall.

"That's when [mom] yelled, 'You murdered him!'" Corey Glaze said.

 

THE INVESTIGATION

All seven deputies were initially placed on administrative leave but have since been reinstated to active duty. An internal investigation remains open.

The TBI has since completed its investigation and is awaiting Pinkston's review. It'll be up to him to decide to present it to a grand jury for criminal indictment or to simply close the case. Once the case is officially closed, the TBI's investigative files would be open to the public for review.

But it's not clear for how long Pinkston has had the final report.

That's because the bureau says it shares its files with prosecutors throughout the investigative process. And the DA's office told the Times Free Press that "just because the TBI is finished and/or just because they notify us that they're finished, still doesn't necessarily mean the report has been uploaded, which is what our office needs to begin the review, and there is no way for us to know the exact date the reports are uploaded."

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Office declined or did not return requests for comment. The TBI declined to comment, citing the open investigation. (While the investigation has been completed, it's remains open until the DA closes it.)

 

'MAYBE I MADE A WRONG CALL'

In the aftermath, Corey Glaze's cousin and wife cleaned up the scene.

He said they found well over a dozen bullet holes "scattered chaotically" around the room.

At least two bullets went through the wall, allowing rays of sunlight to shine through into the now-abandoned, cold, dark home. Another bullet pierced James Glaze's Bible, imprinted with his name and worn by years of use. And one more cut into a Christian devotional book that had been set atop the Bible.

Corey Glaze doesn't think that level of response was warranted, he said, not for someone who was experiencing a crisis.

"They should have de-escalated it really quick, as soon as they walked through that door," he said.

But he's come to terms with the possibility that his father may have intended to die the way he did. He just wants to know the truth.

"Enough time has elapsed at this point where, you know, enough's enough. We've got to get [answers]," he said. "I don't want time to run out. If some freak accident happened, why let so much time elapse to get the officers the help they need to deal with maybe some of the [trauma] That's just as important as my pain.

"The longer it stays open, people stop caring and complacency kicks in. It's like we're in this infinite loop of chasing our tail and not ever coming out of it until there's truth. What happened behind that door?"

Corey Glaze has called the TBI, the DA's office and the sheriff's office looking for answers. But his questions have gone unanswered. Pinkston initially asked to meet with him "sometime after the new year," according to a Dec. 4 email. But a date has not yet been set.

"Please be patient if possible we are reviewing case file and have many to review. We typically deal with 50,000 cases per year [sic]," reads Pinkston's last response to Corey Glaze.

The majority of his responses include an auto-response that states Pinkston only checks emails "either once a day or once every two days" and directs emailers to send questions and concerns to him via U.S. Mail or to call the office line to leave a message.

DA spokesman Bruce Garner declined to clarify the reason for the auto-response, what happens to the correspondence that Pinkston does receive or how victims and their families are communicating with the DA's office.

In the meantime, Corey Glaze and his family have been left without answers, and it's taken a toll on them.

"It was rough," Corey Glaze said. "I mean, you know, in a moment's notice, we had to put him in the ground, bury him it was just all around a bad situation."

He has started blaming himself.

"Maybe I made a wrong call. Maybe I'm dealing with the guilt of that," he said. "I live with the guilt that the phone calls that I made, made [deputies] believe it was more of a situation."

Right now, he said, it sometimes feels like he "called the firing squad on my dad."

Contact Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.

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