The parents of a young man shot dead by a Hamblen County deputy in October 2019 have filed wrongful-death suit in U.S. District Court in Greeneville seeking $25 million in damages.
Anthony Zappier died after he was shot by Deputy Dewey Edward “Eddie” Horner Jr.
Zappier was 19.
His parents, Jimmie and Brandie Zappier, are suing Horner, Sheriff Esco Jarnagin and Hamblen County government seeking $10 million in compensatory damages and $15 million in punitive damages.
Zappier was in the driver’s seat of Horner’s forward-rolling cruiser. The deputy fired one shot from the passenger seat and two more times after he exited the cruiser, according to the lawsuit. The encounter was captured on bodycam video.
Earlier, Zappier assaulted Horner and Zappier, who according to the lawsuit was diagnosed as bipolar, had a gun with him when Horner encountered him in a field in the Wuthering Heights subdivision. The lawsuit alleges Horner “unnecessarily” escalated the contact.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Agent Brian Fraley presented the results of the TBI investigation to a Hamblen County grand jury on Jan. 13. The grand jury concluded that Horner followed correct law enforcement protocol. The TBI concluded that Zappier grabbed at Horner’s service handgun.
The Zappiers’ attorneys Clinton Little and Lance Baker allege the TBI investigation was flawed in several ways, but specifically that the teen tried to take Horner’s gun.
“Put simply, the TBI paid little attention to whether Dep. Horner had probable cause to believe Anthony posed an imminent, serous physical threat before tazing him; earlier forced his face into the ground and later shooting him.”