A man who earlier had threatened suicide was shot by one or more Hancock County Sheriff’s Department deputies Thursday morning following a protracted standoff during which he allegedly had a handgun pointed to his head, authorities say.
The deputies were not injured.
Charles Nicholls Jr., 53, was transported to the Johnson City Medical Center for treatment. This morning a hospital spokeswoman said she had no information on Nicholls. Law enforcement officials confirmed the injured man was alive Thursday afternoon.
The incident began around 8:45 a.m. on Highway 31 in Hancock County near the Hawkins County line. Teddy Collingsworth, a criminal investigator with the district attorney’s office and a deputy in Collingsworth’s Dodge 300 were the first to arrive, but backup several officers from the Hancock and Hawkins sheriff’s department rolled up within a few minutes.
“Deputies ordered him to drop the weapon, but he refused to comply with the commands,” a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation press release states. “Deputies continued to negotiate with Nicholls for more than a half-hour. At some point, for reasons still under investigation, the situation escalated, resulting in two deputies firing shots.”
The deputies were behind Collingsworth’s state-issued vehicle, which was hit by gunfire. Collingsworth was about 125 feet from his vehicle, stopping traffic.
The TBI’s findings will be shared with District Attorney General Dan Armstrong. The TBI does not identify law enforcement officials in officer-involved shootings.