Video released by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department on Saturday shows an officer fatally shooting a man armed with butcher knives.
Body camera footage released during a news conference shows the incident which occurred Friday night while the officer, identified as Christopher Royer, was investigating a license plate issue with a white Mercedes Sudan, according to MNPD spokesperson Don Aaron.
The license plate on the Mercedes was registered to a green 1998 Chevrolet, Aaron said.
Aaron said the driver posed no issues, but that the passenger rushed out of the car with two butcher knives, one in each hand.
The footage, taken from Royer’s body camera, shows him pulling up behind the Mercedes, and then getting out of the car as a man runs out of the Mercedes.
Royer is heard saying ‘stay in the car’ and ‘drop the knife’ as the man runs in the street and then into Royer’s vehicle. The officer is repeatedly heard saying ‘he’s got a knife,’ referring to the suspect.
The man then gets into Royer’s vehicle and closes the door, prompting Royer to rush to the car. As the man closes the door, Royer says ‘dude, drop the knife! I don’t want to shoot you.’
Another person, allegedly identified as the driver of the Mercedes, is also heard pleading with the man to stop.
The man then charges toward Royer, who backs up as the man gets closer. The officer says ‘drop it’ before firing three shots. The man then collapses to the ground.
As the footage ends, Royer says “dude, what are you doing, man? Come on! I did not want to have to do that.”
After the footage was played, Aaron said the unidentified man died shortly after arriving at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Royer, a four-year veteran of the department, is on administrative assignment while the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Davidson County District Attorney’s Office investigate the incident, Aaron said. MNPD is also conducting an administrative review of the interaction.
Police Chief John Drake said that five other officers rendered aid to the man. He said that Royer likely had a taser, but noted that incidents like what Royer went through are “lethal” situations.
“He deescalated by retreating, he moved backward again ordering the individual to drop the weapon,” he said. “In those situations it’s lethal, and you can’t use less lethal if someone’s attacking you with a knife.”