(Newswire.net — March 19, 2017) — A man, identified as 36-year-old Rodney Hess, was broadcasting a live video on Facebook while driving his white SUV. While streaming the video live, he stopped his car several times, blocking traffic. Then the police patrol in a black SUV entered the scene.
The second video shows Hess taking off until he crashed following a gunfire, screams and shattered glass.
The police officers claim Hess tried to run them down and that officers opened fire to stop him. Hess was later pronounced dead in a hospital in Memphis.
It is not clear from the video if Hess indeed tried to hit the police officers but his family claims he was in fact asking for help. Hess’ voice can be heard on the video, demanding twice for “higher commands to come out.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) released a statement on Thursday confirming Hess was shot by at least one Crockett County deputy. The officer “fired his service weapon through the front windshield of the vehicle driven by Hess, striking him,” the statement reads.
No law enforcement officers were harmed during the incident.
In a press conference, Josh DeVine, Public Information Officer for TBI, said the deputy who responded to the scene requested backup when “drivers were obviously not able to get where they wanted to go.”
TBI has not released the name of the deputy who shot Hess, but said in a statement that Hess was “refusing officer commands and making erratic statements”. The situation escalated when Hess “attempted to use his vehicle to strike the officers at least twice,” TBI claimed in a statement.
The deputy’s attorney, Mark Donahoe, told WBBJ, that the video shows that the officer followed the procedure.
“I’m confident at this point that there wasn’t anything done that was not following proper procedure,” he said.
Hess’ family claim, however, that TBI is covering the truth, asking for murder chargers. Video that appeared on Facebook shows a man, identified as Hess’ grandfather, “praying that justice will be served.”
Hess’ fiancée, Johnisha Provost, told WWL that Hess suffered from a bipolar disorder but was not suicidal.
The Crockett County Sheriff’s Department released their own statement expressing their sympathy for all involved in the incident, including the deputy and his family