At least nine officers fatally shoot man walking on Nashville interstate highway

At least nine law enforcement officers fatally shot a man walking on an interstate highway in Nashville on Thursday, in the latest use of deadly police force in the US that has left the man’s family “in shock”.

The 37-year-old man, named as Landon Eastep, was agitated and carrying a box cutter in his left hand, a Metro Nashville police department spokesman, Don Aaron, said. The agency said Eastep was walking along the highway before he was shot.

Aaron said police tried for about a half-hour to de-escalate the situation but nine officers from three agencies fired at the man when he quickly pulled an unknown “silver, shiny cylindrical object” from his right pocket. He said he did not know what the object was but said it was not a firearm.

“I wasn’t aware there was anything wrong,” Samantha McGill-Barge, Eastep’s sister-in-law, told the Daily Beast. “He loved my sister and my kids very much and, to my knowledge, was a good guy. It’s a very unfortunate situation. I’m in shock.”

In an online fundraiser for Eastep’s widow titled Help get Justice for Landon Eastep, McGill-Barge alleged that he had been “murdered by several officers”.

“This man had only a box cutter and had already shown it to officers before they killed him in cold blood,” she said. “He was shot for no good reason at all and he did not deserve to die.”

A video recording of the encounter obtained by WKRN-TV showed officers surrounding Eastep, who has his back to the berm between the northbound and southbound lanes. The footage shows officers opening fire after he removes his right hand from his pocket. Bursts of gunfire can be heard.

He was hit multiple times and died, Aaron said. No officers were injured.

Interstate 65 in Nashville was closed in both directions for a time during the encounter and afterward as agencies remained on the scene including the Tennessee bureau of investigation, or TBI, authorities said.

The agency said a Tennessee highway patrol trooper first spotted Eastep at about 2pm on the northbound shoulder of the interstate at mile marker 76 and soon an off-duty officer from another jurisdiction, then others, arrived.

“The trooper attempted to negotiate with Eastep, and soon, an off-duty Mount Juliet police department officer also stopped, along with back-up officers from the Metropolitan Nashville police department” and more highway patrol troopers, the statement added.

It said those negotiations seeking Eastep’s surrender continued for about 30 minutes before at least nine officers fired at the man and he died at the scene.

Associated Press contributed to this report

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