Medical examiner's report on slain officer released

Medical examiner's report on slain officer released

April 13th, 2011 by Beth Burger in News


Anyone entering Hamilton County Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon's courtroom this morning for 25-year-old Jesse Mathews' initial court appearance will have to be screened by court officers - twice.

"We will be ramping up security," said Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond, who said no threats have been made.

Hammond cited the "emotional level of the community" following the death of Chattanoga Police Department Sgt. Tim Chapin on April 2.

Aside from additional screening and possibly additional court officers present, Hammond said there was also some discussion about who would be allowed into the courtroom. He said it would depend upon the judge's discretion.

Chattanooga police Sgt. Tim Chapin died from a single gunshot to his head, a medical examiner's report released Tuesday shows.

The 26-year veteran with the Chattanooga Police Department was responding to a robbery-in-progress call at U.S. Money Shops on April 2 when he tried to apprehend the suspect Jesse Mathews.

Chapin was shot once, according to the Hamilton County medical examiner's report. The bullet entered through the bridge of Chapin's nose and he fell instantly to the ground, cutting his knees, hands and bruising his head, the report stated.

He was pronounced dead at the scene after his fellow officers tried to render aid, reports stated.

Mathews, 25, also was shot and taken into custody.

Police have refused to release any details about the nature or extent of Mathews' injuries. Authorities have said he is using a wheelchair in the Hamilton County Jail, where he remains in custody.

The type of gun used to kill Chapin is not identified in the medical examiner's report and police have not released additional details.

Mathews is scheduled to appear in Hamilton County General Sessions Court this morning before Hamilton County General Sessions Judge Bob Moon. Karla Gothard, a public defender, will represent him.

His parents, Kathleen and Ray Mathews, and sister's boyfriend, James Poteete, are scheduled to be in U.S. District Court today to face federal charges in connection with Jesse Mathews' escape from a prison facility in Colorado as well as helping him transport weapons across state lines.

His sister, Rachel Mathews, who also faces federal charges, is still in Asheville, N.C., awaiting extradition to Tennessee.

According to police, on April 2, Jesse Mathews, armed with two guns and wearing a bulletproof vest, fired upon officers through the front of the Brainerd Road pawnshop before fleeing out a side door.

Chapin pursued Mathews in his patrol car as other officers pursued him on foot toward Old Birds Mill Road at the rear of the business, reports said.

Mathews fired at Chapin while the officer was still in the car. Chapin then hit Mathews with his patrol car, but Mathews immediately got back up. Chapin exited his vehicle and exchanged fire with Mathews.

After the shooting, Mathews was hospitalized, then jailed Friday and charged with Chapin's death.