A shoplifting suspect wanted on prior assault and theft warrants was fatally shot by a Tennessee sheriff’s officer in a parking lot after hitting two lawmen with his car while trying to flee, authorities said.
The officers — a deputy and a reserve officer from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office — were treated for numerous nonlife threatening injuries, said Knoxville police spokesman Darrell DeBusk.
The suspect, Amos Frerichs, 32, of Vonore, Tennessee, died at the scene outside a sporting goods store in West Knoxville, police said. Police did not say which officer shot the suspect or how many shots were fired Friday night.
Police also did not say if Frerichs was armed during the confrontation, but DeBusk added: “Obviously he used his vehicle as a weapon.”
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Media reports indicated the store was filled with shoppers when the chaotic scene unfolded.
Police did not immediately say what items Frerichs allegedly tried to shoplift.
Frerichs, who is white, had a lengthy criminal history that included multiple charges and arrests in Knox, Blount and Loudon counties in Tennessee, DuBusk said.
“We believe Frerichs fought with the deputies due to multiple outstanding warrants on file for his arrest, including two assault and two theft warrants in Knox County,” DuBusk said Saturday in a release.
Greg Dunn, who identified himself as Frerichs’ step-father, said the family did not want to comment.
“Right now is not a good time,” he said in a phone interview Saturday. “We’re still trying to wrap our heads around it ourselves. We don’t have all the details.”
The officers, part of a shoplifting task force, spotted Frerichs at about 8:25 p.m. EST inside the sporting goods store, DeBusk said.
Frerichs fled the store when approached by the lawmen, and the officers pursued him into the parking lot, where the suspect ignored commands to stop, he said.
The officers deployed their Tasers, but Frerichs continued to fight and resist arrest, DeBusk said.
Frerichs climbed into a vehicle and ran over both lawmen, knocking them to the ground, DeBusk said. One of the officers got back on his feet and opened fire as the suspect tried to hit him again with his vehicle, he said.
The lawman “discharged his weapon in defense of his life and the life of his partner,” DeBusk said.
The officers were identified as Deputy Evan Rogers and Reserve Officer Geziel Dos Santos.
Rogers has been a deputy with the Knox County sheriff’s office since 2012 — the same year Dos Santos became a reserve officer with the agency, DeBusk said.
The investigation is continuing, police said.
Knoxville police are investigating the shooting at the request of the Knox County sheriff, DeBusk said. The sheriff’s office is conducting an internal investigation, he said.