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: ADKINS, PAMELA FAYE  10120 CLAIRE CIRCLE SODDY DAISY, 37379  Age at Arrest: 49 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County EVADING ARREST VIOLATION OF PROBATION(THEFT OF PROPERTY) VIOLATION OF PROBATION(THEFT OF PROPERTY) --- ANDRES, FELIPE  2001 28TH ST CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Firefighters Locate Lost Hiker At Rainbow Falls Trail Area

Signal Mountain firefighters located a lost hiker at the Rainbow Falls Trail area on Saturday afternoon. At 5:35 p.m. , Signal Mountain firefighters responded to 300 Ohio Ave. regarding a female hiker lost on the trails. At 5:45 p.m. , fire officials on the scene reported rescue teams entered the woods and hiked about one mile on the trail until they made physical contact ... (click for more)

Pedestrians Have The Right Of Way - And Response (2)

Often I visit Gold's Gym at Chestnut and 4th Street. I  park in the theater parking lot at Broad and 4th Street.  I depend on the walk signs to get me there safely.  Most days I almost get hit by someone turning left or right coming from the exit ramp off 27 or turning right on 4th street from Chestnut. This happened yesterday as I was almost mowed down by a garbage ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Girls - ‘I Can And I Will’

Every night after the Rodriguez girls went to sleep not that long ago in a grim, rat-infested basement apartment on Chicago’s South Side, their father – a boxing referee who came to America from Puerto Rico -- would kneel beside the girls’ bed and whisper in each child’s ear. Their parents made them sleep hot-dog style, tightly wrapped in the same sheet and pressed together to protect ... (click for more)

Unbeaten Baylor Volleyball Sweeps Three Region Foes

The Baylor Lady Red Raider volleyball team made a successful trip to Nashville this weekend where they remained unbeaten after 14 matches with wins over three region foes. Friday's match had Baylor sweeping Pope John Paul II by scores of 25-5, 25-10 and 25-11 before sweeping Ensworth and Father Ryan on Saturday.  Scores in the first match were 25-15, 25-12 and 25-5 while ... (click for more)

Mocs Volleyball Win Two Chattanooga Classic Matches Saturday

The Chattanooga Mocs volleyball team captured 3-0 sweeps against Presbyterian College and Mississippi Valley State on Saturday, their third sweep in as many matches as part of the Chattanooga Classic – presented by Hampton Inn & Suites (Downtown Chattanooga) – held in Maclellan Gym. The Mocs won the first two sets by scores of 25-10 and 25-14 before clinching the match ... (click for more)