Deputy acted in self defense in fatal shooting


Star Staff Reports
A sheriff’s deputy acted in self-defense when he shot and killed a sexual-assault suspect who had stabbed him in the arm following a foot chase last year near 201 Poplar, said Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich.
The suspect, 49-year-old James Kirkwood, led the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office deputy on a chase after a woman said Kirkwood had sexually assaulted her while she was paying at a parking meter around 10 a.m. on Aug. 5 last year.
During the chase through an alleyway and a parking lot just north of the Criminal Justice Center, a parking lot attendant warned the deputy that Kirkwood had a knife.
When the deputy caught up with Kirkwood on North 4th Street, he tried to subdue Kirkwood with pepper-spray. Kirkwood responded by attacking the deputy with a knife, slashing him on the left arm. The deputy then pulled his firearm and shot Kirkwood, striking him seven times.
The incident was captured on video surveillance from a nearby business.
“The deputy had already sustained serious bodily injury, and it is reasonable to believe he faced further injury had he not acted to protect himself,” said Weirich, who asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to investigate.
The TBI report now is posted at


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