Caught on camera: Suspect wielding bat and axe attempts to attack officer, gets shot by his partner

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NASHVILLE, TN – Officials have released the bodycam footage regarding a non-fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred during the evening of March 12th. 

In the released video, the suspect can be seen carrying both a baseball bat and an axe – which the suspect appears to be positioning the axe to swing down on a responding officer before she was shot by police. 

The incident occurred shortly after 5:00 p.m. on March 12th, when Metro Police officers were dispatched to the 2800 block of Greer Road in Goodlettsville where they encountered 33-year-old Melissa Wooden as she was holding both a pick axe and baseball bat.

According to reports, dispatch had reportedly informed officers that Wooden was claiming that she wanted police to shoot her: 

“Be advised that she is saying that she wants the police to come so that they can shoot her.”

In the newly released video showcasing the interaction between officers and Wooden, the onset of the interaction was calm – namely due to the officer’s demeanor and tone of voice from whom the bodycam footage presents the perspective of. 

That officer was later identified as Officer Ben Williams.

Wooden and the officers engaged in some back-and-forth, mainly consisting of officers kindly asking Wooden to put down the axe and baseball bat. 

In a calm tone, Officer Williams was trying to convey that no one was trying to do her harm: 

“Melissa. Nobody is going to kill you. No one is going to harm you. You know how this ends. OK? We’re not doing this.”

Overall, Officer Williams was trying to diffuse the situation and have Wooden simply drop the weapons: 

“We’ve established that nobody here is gonna hurt you. OK? Look at me in my eyes and know that I’m telling you the truth. None of us are gonna hurt you. OK? None of us are gonna kill you.”

Yet, the interaction between officers and Wooden became complicated once the suspect’s mother pulled up on a scooter to insert herself into the matter. 

Wooden’s mother told officers that her daughter suffers from various forms of mental illness, while periodically diverting her attention from officers to yell at Wooden. 

The bodycam footage from the officer shows that he was doing what he could to dial down the agitation that was present with Wooden.

But after Wooden’s mother started pulling up closer to her daughter with her scooter, the suspect became visibly more jumpy and assumed a more aggressive stance. 

That’s when Officer Williams went to deploy his taser on Wooden, which when the taser connected with the suspect, she can be seen stepping toward him and hoisting the axe upward as if preparing to swing it down. 

This then resulted in another officer firing off what sounded like two rounds. 

Wooden was reportedly transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which she was last reported as being stable on March 15th. 

As for the three officers who responded to the call, they’ve since been placed on administrative assignment, per standard protocol, while the TBI investigates the incident. 

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In other news related to recently released bodycam footage, Baltimore police officials released video from a fatal officer-involved shooting of an armed suspect in February. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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BALTIMORE, MD – Baltimore police released body-worn camera footage on Thursday of a fatal officer-involved shooting last month inside a parking garage near Inner Harbor. The victim’s family called the shooting “modern-day slavery” despite the man pulling a gun on officers.

According to a press release issued by the department following the shooting, officers patrolling Inner Harbor were flagged down by a witness who reported a shooting had occurred outside a CVS pharmacy near E. Pratt Street around 9:22 p.m. on February 25.

Officers located the victim and one officer provided medical assistance.

Additional officers pursued Tyson on foot and in patrol cars. The suspect ran into a parking garage, and three officers followed.

When officers ordered the man to stop, 35-year-old Benjamin Tyson pulled out a handgun and pointed it at officers. Officers returned fire, striking Tyson several times.

Tyson was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police wrote in a press release following the shooting:

“The officers ordered the suspect to put his hands up, at which time, the suspect produced a handgun and attempted to fire the weapon. It is believed that the handgun misfired. At least two officers fired their weapons, striking the suspect.”

Police released video from four officers’ body cameras during a press conference. The officials said that three officers fired at least 16 rounds at the suspect after he fled from officers after the first shooting and then drew a gun on them.

The first video, identified as from the body camera of “Ofc.Wagner,” shows officers administering first aid to the victim of a non-fatal shooting victim. Police reported the 23-year-old man was shot and wounded by Tyson.

The other three videos show officers chasing Tyson up a ramp leading to a parking garage.

Officers gave several warnings for Tyson to show his hands and stop. Tyson had his right hand inside a jacket pocket. As officers tried to get Tyson to surrender and show his hands, Tyson pulled a handgun out of his jacket pocket and turned it toward officers.

All three officers fire at Tyson and he falls to the ground.

Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said:

“Having reviewed bodycam footage personally, with our mayor, with our city administrator, with our deputy commissioner, we can say that our officers were being proactive and doing exactly what the citizens of Baltimore expect.

Police said they initially believed Tyson fired the gun but that it misfired, but later said evidence supported that the gun jammed either during the first shooting, or when he tried to fire it at officers. The department stressed that officers had no way of knowing the gun would not fire when they returned fire.

Commissioner Harrison clarified:

“It’s a difference of terminology. What we understand from a photograph of the gun as it was recovered, one of the bullets did not enter the chamber but rather was stuck between the ejection port, so it appeared that the young man attempted to fire the gun, but the bullet did not enter the chamber.”

Officers recovered a handgun from the garage believed to be Tyson’s.

Officers Robert Brown, Robert Cucchiaro, and Edgard Ayala-Lopez have been placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, standard procedure in police-involved shootings.

Despite the video evidence showing Tyson refusing to follow officers’ instructions and drawing a handgun on officers, members of his family expressed anger toward the police. Tyson’s sister, Kia Shaw, claims police have not given the family details about the shooting:

“Our family wanna (sic) know like, what exactly happened. Like what they saying (sic) happened is not the events that we viewed. They can’t keep killing us with no explanation. Sixteen shots was overkill, so we want answers.”

“If they say they seen (sic) one thing but us a different thing then we have a problem with that. You said the gunfire misfired, but it (the video) didn’t show anything misfiring.”

Shaw said the police are making them feel like they are not important:

“It makes me feel like we’re expendable to the police, like we’re nothing, like it’s like modern-day slavery. Instead of hanging us, they’re shooting us. So, we just need some type of closure because we can’t allow this to keep happening, especially in our communities.”

The family said they have retained an attorney.

Baltimore police said the incident remains under investigation.

Baltimore Deputy Police Commissioner Brian Nadeau said “a shooting like this has affected a lot of people,” including the officers, the shooting victim, and his family, as well as Tyson’s family. He continued:

“We want to make sure we provide assistance, to make sure we put somebody back to work that they are ready to go back to work.”

Tyson was the second man shot and killed by police in the city in February. Dontae Green was killed in a shootout with police in West Baltimore on February 4. A U.S. Marshal was critically wounded in the shootout. Police say the Marshal was shot by Green from a closet. The Marshall was searching for Green for a shooting at a grocery store days earlier.

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