Family: Tenn. man killed after shooting at police suffered from PTSD
Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — As Maryville police investigate why a local man shot at a passing motorist, a police cruiser and a police officer before authorities shot and killed him, the man’s family described him as a decorated war veteran who loved his country but succumbed to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Theodore “T.J.” Jones IV was shot and killed at about 4 a.m. Thursday when he advanced on officers who had surrounded him at a former business at 1811 E. Broadway Ave., Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp said.
On Thursday afternoon, Jones’ father took to Facebook to share his grief.
“Today, I feel great pain. My beloved son, Theodore ‘T.J.’ Jones IV, last night suffered another flashback to his combat service as a U.S. Marine,” wrote Theodore Jones III of Maryville.
“He has lost the battle with PTSD. This morning, he sits within sight of Creator and Jesus. He now smokes the pipe with other warriors who have fought to defend their beliefs.”
At a news conference at the Maryville Municipal Building, Theodore Jones IV’s sister Stephanie Jones Kirk read a statement and described Jones as a decorated lance corporal in the Marine Corps who served many tours overseas, including in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“He served proudly, protecting the country and people he loved. He was a living, loving and caring man,” she said.
Kirk said Jones was a courageous father who left behind a beautiful wife and daughter and has another child on the way.
Debbie Puckett, owner of Maryville Fastener and Hardware, across the street from the shooting scene, remembers Jones going to school with her daughter.
“He was a good kid. I just don’t understand,” she said. “He was never a troublemaker.”
Crisp said that at 2:39 a.m. Thursday officers received a shots-fired call on Jett Road, a street near where the shooting occurred.
While investigating that call, officers received a second call from a motorist who said that while he was traveling westbound on East Broadway Avenue he was shot at as he traveled near Lowes Drugs. The motorist said the gunman was on the side of the road.
Minutes later, an officer’s vehicle was fired upon. Shortly after that, an officer spotted Jones, armed with a semi-automatic handgun, break a window and enter a former flower shop at 1811 E. Broadway Ave., Crisp said.
Jones fired at an officer from inside the building, came out the front with the handgun, went back inside and then walked back out the front, where officers had the property surrounded.
“He had the gun to his head. He waved it around, he kept approaching and we told him to stop,” Crisp said. “We knew he shot three times into an occupied motor vehicle, and if he eluded us, he would be a danger. He got too close. He wouldn’t drop the gun or stop moving toward the officers, and that is when two Maryville officers and one deputy fired.”
Crisp said Jones was transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where he died of his wounds.
The body was taken to the Regional Forensic Center in Knoxville for an autopsy.
Crisp wouldn’t specify where on Jones’ body he was shot or how many times he was hit.
“Multiple shots were fired and an investigation is continuing,” he said.
Crisp said he did not know whether Jones had a criminal record.
“We had an officer who knew him from school who attempted to do negotiation with him and we had another officer who knew him from some type of call,” Crisp said.
Authorities did not release the names of the three officers — two Maryville police officers and one Blount County Sheriff’s Office deputy — involved in the shooting. As is standard procedure, they have been placed on administrative paid leave, the chief said.