Police Sergeant Killed In Running Gunbattle After Responding To Robbery In Brainerd; 2nd Officer Hit

Robber Was Reportedly Violent Escape Artist Who Fled Colorado Prison; Was Wearing Kevlar Vest

Saturday, April 2, 2011
Sgt. Tim Chapin
Sgt. Tim Chapin

Veteran Chattanooga police sergeant Tim Chapin, 51, was killed while responding to a robbery at a pawn shop in Brainerd on Saturday morning. He had almost 27 years of service with the Chattanooga Police Department and was the father of two.

A second city police officer, Lorin Johnston, was shot, but the bullet deflected off the vest he was wearing, sources said. Officer Johnston in 2007 was the Exchange Club's Officer of the Year after he donated a kidney to a fellow officer with kidney disease.

The robber, who is a parolee from Colorado, was wounded during the gunfire and was taken to Erlanger Hospital. He was under heavy guard.

Sources said the robber was wearing a Kevlar bullet-proof vest during the shootout, which protected him from numerous bullets fired at him by half a dozen officers who had hurried to the robbery scene in Brainerd.

However, one shot was outside the vest area and has left him in a coma, sources said.

The officer who was killed was shot in the head when confronting the robber during the running gunbattle.

The sergeant was among officers responding to a robbery at the U.S. Money Shops near Big Lots. The location is behind the Rib and Loin Restaurant in the 5900 block of Brainerd Road.

The robber fired at the arriving officers when they caught him inside the store. The officers then retreated to their vehicles.

The robber emerged from the store and began firing at officers who were pursuing him in patrol cars and on foot. There were some six officers at the scene by that time.

Sgt. Chapin was hit by a bullet as he continued the pursuit near East Brainerd Road.

An employee of the Rib and Loin said shots were fired around 10:30 a.m. Employees of Big Lots also told of hearing gunshots.

A host of police officers quickly converged on the scene, including city officers and those from the sheriff's department.

A wide area was taped off ranging from near the South Chickamauga Creek bridge to beyond East Brainerd Road.

The officers who were involved in the shooting will all be on administrative leave per department policy. The sheriff's department will help in coverage while the officers are away from duty.

The probe of the incident will be carried out jointly by the city police, the sheriff's office, the TBI and the district attorney's office.

Chief Bobby Dodd said, "It's like losing a member of your family."

Mayor Ron Littlefield, who took part in an early afternoon news conference at the scene, expressed sorrow for the officer's family and asked for prayers for them and for his fellow officers.

County Commissioner Greg Beck, who was also at the scene, said, "I am so saddened for the officers family and for his fellow officers. We need to pull ourselves together and support our officers in these dangerous times. Every day they are laying their lives on the line for us."

County Mayor Jim Coppinger said, “We in Hamilton County government also mourn the death of Sgt. Tim Chapin Saturday morning in the line of duty. Sgt. Chapin’s regrettable murder is a grim reminder of the dangers first responders’ face every day they put on their uniforms and pin on their badges to protect and serve the public. On a personal note, Tim has been a friend for years. My thoughts and prayers are with Tim’s family and his fellow officers.”

The last Chattanooga Police officer killed in the line of duty was Julie Jacks in 2002.

Police spokesperson Jerri Weary released this statement shortly after noon, "Chattanooga Police are currently on the scene at 5900 Brainerd Road where an officer has been shot and killed.

"Police responded to U.S Money Shops next to Big Lots on a robbery from business call around 10:30 this morning. Immediately when officers arrived, they encountered one male suspect who began firing at police. A gun battle and foot pursuit ensued and at least one officer was shot and killed during the gun fight.

"The suspect was shot at least once and has been taken to a local hospital where he is being treated. This is all preliminary information."


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ABLES, JAMIE SHAWN  3449 HALL STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37415  Age at Arrest: 27 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga FRAUDULENT USE OF CREDIT CARD THEFT OF PROPERTY FUGITIVE (ARREST FOR CRIME IN ANOTHER STATE) --- BAILEY, COREY DEON  2440 4TH AVE APT 4 CHATTANOOGA, 37402  Age at ... (click for more)

Man Convicted Of 5th DUI To Lose Driver's License For 8 Years

A man who picked up his fifth DUI since 2006 pleaded guilty in Criminal Court on Thursday. Pablo Figueroa, 32, appeared before Judge Barry Steelman. Prosecutor Tom Landis said on April 1 Figuero was found passed out drunk behind the steering wheel of a vehicle that had its engine running. He was also charged with driving without a license and violation of the open container ... (click for more)

White Coat Syndrome And The Medical System - And Response (2)

Today I wish to share what I am feeling as a patient in our medical system. I am too old to put on airs at this point, and this is too pervasive of a problem for me to contain.   As I enter my AARP years, I am faced with so many medical encounters that evoke all kinds of uncomfortable feelings. I dread physician’s appointments riddled with government regulatory hypocrisy, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: County Commissioners Not Getting Bang For Their School Bucks

The Hamilton County School Board passed a balanced budget to present to the County Commission at a Special Called Meeting on Thursday night. They also attached a prioritized list of $24.5 million in critical needs for the County Commission to consider that will never see the light of day. The long and short of it is easy to see -- the County Commissioners have had enough. It ... (click for more)

Sales' Grand Slam Leads Lady Owls To 6-2 Comeback Win

Cheyenne Sales came close to hitting two home runs on Tuesday. She atoned for those close calls a day later with a grand slam in a five-run fourth inning and powered Ooltewah to a 6-2 victory over gritty East Hamilton in District 5-3A softball action at Jim Lovell Field. “That’s the first grand slam I’ve hit this season,” said Sales, who finished with five RBIs. “The pitch ... (click for more)

Prep Tennis: Hixson Girls, Red Bank Boys Win District Titles

Playing for the District 6 A-AA tennis title, it came down to No.2 doubles with the overall match tied at 4 all. Hixson’s Amy Carranza and Sydney Buckner defeated Grace Brown and Cheyenne Cummings, of Red Bank, 8-6, Thursday at the Hixson Rec Center courts to give the host Wildcats the district championship, 5-4, for the second straight year and fourth title in five years. ... (click for more)