Grand Jury: Officer shooting justified
A Morristown police officer who shot and killed an armed man in August 2012 was justified in firing the fatal shots, a Hamblen County grand jury concluded Monday afternoon.
Joseph Allen Weeks, 23, died after officer Dustin Jones shot him two times with a M4 rifle outside the Elm Street residence of Weeks’ girlfriend, Alkini Dawn Thompson.
Police say Weeks ignored police officers’ orders to drop the revolver he was carrying.
Following the shooting, District Attorney General C. Berkeley Bell characterized the incident as “suicide-by-cop,” and the grand jury came to the same conclusion.
Jones was placed on paid, temporary, non-disciplinary leave, but has since returned to work.
Thompson was taken into custody on the day of the shooting and charged with child abuse and neglect. The woman, who ultimately pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, allegedly assaulted her 12-year-old daughter for calling police.
In another finding on Tuesday, the grand jury concluded that insufficient evidence exists to indict Nicholas Cowan for vehicular homicide in a May 2010 fatal crash, despite the fact his blood-alcohol content was .08 percent, above the legal limit.
Cowan crashed on Kidwells Ridge Road, killing Julian Latocki, an unrestrained passenger in his pickup.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol initially indicated there was no evidence Cowan was drinking alcohol prior to the crash, but a routine blood test showed Cowan had been drinking before his truck collided with a tree and overturned.
-By Robert Moore, Tribune Staff Writer