A Texas man was out on parole for a domestic violence conviction when he was pulled over by an East Ridge police officer on Oct. 18, leading to an injured officer, a manhunt, a shootout and the Texan's death.
The man, 42-year-old Christopher John Kitts, was pulled over for violation of the hands-free cellphone law and stopped his red Dodge Challenger on the side of Ringgold Road just in front of the CVS pharmacy. Kitts opened his door, emerged with a gun pointed at Cpl. Terry Prescott and immediately began to fire. The exchange took less than 10 seconds.
A photo showed at least seven bullet holes climbing up the front of Prescott's police vehicle, two of which entered the windshield on the driver's side.
Prescott was struck and rushed to a local hospital for treatment. He was released the following day. After a manhunt, Kitts was found in Rossville, Georgia, where he died in a shootout with police.
Texas court records show that Kitts had been convicted in 2016 of domestic assault and sentenced to five years in prison for choking a woman in July 2015.
Prison officials confirmed Kitts arrived at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on Oct. 26, 2016. He was released on parole on Dec. 29, 2017.
He also served a two-year sentence for evading arrest in 2010.
According to Texas law, people released on parole have to abide by certain rules or risk their parole being revoked. Some of those rules can include obtaining written permission from the parole officer before leaving the state, not owning or possessing any firearms and obeying all state and federal laws.
Beyond parole restrictions, Texas gun laws are not as strict as Tennessee's or those of the federal government.
Texas law only prohibits people convicted of certain domestic violence misdemeanors — those that fall under Class A, the most serious of misdemeanors — from possessing firearms, according to the Giffords Law Center, a nonprofit devoted to preventing gun violence.
That prohibition stands for five years after the completion of a sentence, parole or probation. Once the five years are up, gun owners can only keep the firearm at their home.
The same rule applies to people convicted of any felony.
Federal law, however, prohibits convicted felons, those convicted of any misdemeanor domestic violence offenses or those subject to a domestic violence protective order from possessing firearms at any point unless the conviction is expunged or pardoned.
In Kitt's case, his parole was set to expire in July 2021.
Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk has said he suspected that Kitts had prior military experience, based on the way in which he engaged officers in gunfire, though that has not been confirmed.
Kitts led officers on a 14-hour manhunt into the woods near Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park, where he began shooting multiple times at officers with a high-powered rifle and a pistol from within the thick brush.
"They were having to be quiet because any time he may hear something he may erratically pop up and start shooting in their direction," Sisk said during a news conference earlier this week.
He said officers had night vision equipment, but even then it was not very helpful due to the thick vegetation within the woods. That was also a hindrance to officers who were providing support from the air via drones and helicopters.
Additionally, Kitts shot one drone out of the air.
Troopers with a Georgia State Patrol SWAT unit eventually cornered and fatally shot Kitts after he opened fire one last time just before 5 a.m. behind a home on Glade Road in Rossville.