NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee police officer fatally shot a man who charged at the officer with knives during a traffic stop, authorities said at a news conference Saturday in which they released police body camera footage.
Metropolitan Nashville Police Department Officer Christopher Royer was placed on administrative assignment after he shot the man late Friday on a Nashville road, department spokesman Don Aaron said.
The man, who wasn’t immediately identified, died at a hospital, Aaron said.
Royer was on patrol in his police car when he ran a license plate for a white Mercedes sedan, but the plate was actually registered to a green 1998 Chevrolet, Aaron said.
After the officer stopped the Mercedes, the passenger ran out of the car holding a knife in each hand, according to the police spokesman.
The passenger began running around and briefly entered the driver’s side door of Royer’s police car, the body camera video showed.
The man then ran toward Royer, who retreated about 25 yards (meters) from his police car, Aaron said. Royer could be heard on the video requesting backup, telling the passenger to drop the knives and saying, “I don’t want to shoot you.”
The man continued running at Royer, who fired three times, the video showed. The man fell onto the street.
“Dude, what are you doing, man, come on,” Royer said. “I did not want to have to do that.”
Police Chief John Drake said Royer retreated and had asked the man to drop the knife several times in an attempt to de-escalate the situation.
“He continued charging at him, and he was left with no choice,” Drake said.
Drake said officers regularly run license tags to determine if vehicles are stolen. Nashville police are issued stun guns, Drake said, but Royer did not appear to attempt to use it, according to the video.
“That’s a lethal situation,” Drake said, calling the passenger’s behavior “bizarre.”
The police chief said five officers rendered aid to the man afterward.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will investigate the shooting and the police department will also review it. The local district attorney will decide whether to pursue charges after the TBI finishes the investigation.
Royer has been with the police department for four years.