No criminal charges for officers in shooting death of Landon Eastep

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has concluded its investigation into the officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of Landon Eastep earlier this year.

No criminal charges will be filed against any of the law enforcement officers involved in the incident, according to a statement released Friday by the office of District Attorney General Glenn Funk.

The 37-year-old was fatally shot by multiple law enforcement officers on Interstate 65 in Nashville after at least 30 minutes of tense negotiations on January 27, 2022.

The statement from the prosecutor’s office states, “After a review of the TBI investigation, and in particular body camera footage of the scene at the time of the shooting, District Attorney Glenn Funk has concluded that Landon Eastep’s actions were designed to cause the officers to perceive an immediate threat and his actions did cause the officers to reasonably perceive an immediate threat. Therefore, all shots fired were legally justified.

The incident began when a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper saw Eastep sitting on the side of I-65 near Hogan Road and stopped to offer to get him off the freeway. Metro police said after a brief interaction, Eastep pulled out a box cutter and the soldier called for help.

Landon Eastep (family photo)

An off-duty Mt. Juliet police officer pulled over to help and began trying to defuse the situation by talking to Eastep, according to Metro Police.

For 30 minutes, Metro Police said officers tried to negotiate with Eastep as he held the cutter in his left hand and kept his right hand in his pocket.

In the body camera video released by the MNPD, the Mt. Juliet officer can be heard pleading with Eastep, saying “let me help you” and “Landon, don’t let me go home with this today. today, my brother, please.”

Several officers begged Eastep to end the situation and pleaded with him to “let’s just go home.” The Mt. Juliet officer said “we don’t want to hurt you, we don’t want to shoot you and you don’t want to hurt us, do you?” I have kids to go to, I have family to come home to… but God put me here so I could help you today and you know it!

Nine officers, including six Subway officers, two THP troopers and the off-duty Mt. Juliet officer, opened fire when Eastep pulled a “shiny silver cylindrical object” from his pocket that police subway later reported that it was not a gun.

Object fired dead end
(Courtesy of Nashville Metro Police Department)

Six months later, the autopsy revealed that Eastep had been shot 12 times. Some of these wounds were on the front of his body and some were on the back.

After the shooting, Metro Police Chief Drake initially ordered that Constable Brian Murphy be decommissioned. Murphy, a 25-year veteran with MNPD, had been identified as the person who fired the final two shotgun blasts after Eastep had already hit the ground.

Agent Murphy returned to the force on April 12, 2022.

The other subway police officers who fired their weapons were identified as follows:

  • Sargeant Steve Carrick – 8-year MNPD veteran
  • Officer Justin Pinkelton – 25-year veteran of the MNPD
  • Officer Sean Williams – 17-year veteran of the MNPD
  • Officer Edin Plancic – 6-year MNPD veteran
  • Officer James Kidd — Joined the department last February

The Tennessee Highway Patrol identified the soldiers involved as Trooper Reggie Edge and Sergeant Charles Achinger. Both were placed on routine discretionary leave with pay.

After an internal investigation by the THP, both were restored to full status on February 28, 2022.

In February, Eastep’s wife Chelesy told News 2 that a mental health professional should have been called to the scene within minutes.

“Within the first 10 minutes someone should have called the crisis. Someone should have had a professional who knew how to handle someone going through a mental crisis. There were so many options that could have been taken, who weren’t. And to me, that’s unacceptable,” Eastep explained. “I just feel like it was way too much. I feel like there were a bunch of steps that were skipped, and I feel like there’s no reason he died today.


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