Landon Eastep fatally shot by police on I-65 Highway in Crieve Hall, near Nashville Tennessee

Nine Tennessee police officers opened fire on a 37-year-old man Thursday afternoon after a confrontation on an interstate highway in Nashville. The man, who police said had been sitting on a crash barrier on the busy roadway, died.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation late Thursday identified the victim as Landon Eastep. Nashville court records show Eastep had an outstanding charge of domestic violence with bodily harm. His next trial date was scheduled for April.

Samantha McGill-Barge, Eastep’s sister-in-law, told The Daily Beast that she was confused that he was on the highway on Thursday.

“I did not realize something was wrong,” she said. She added that Eastep’s widow was in contact with a lawyer but had no plans to take legal action. The two had been dating for nearly four years and had been married just a year, McGill-Barge said.

“He loved my sister and my kids a lot and as far as I know he was a good guy. It’s a very unfortunate situation. I’m in shock. I was home with my kids when I found out,” he said. she.

In a video filmed by a spectator and posted on Twitter by the news media WSMV, Eastep can be seen standing still in the right lane of the highway while nearly a dozen Tennessee Highway Patrolmen and Nashville Police watch with guns drawn. The entire highway is blocked on both sides. Eastep raises his arms towards the police and the video pauses. Several shots can then be heard.

In a press briefing, Nashville Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron said Eastep was holding a box cutter in his left hand and was shot when he suddenly pulled his right hand out of his pocket while holding a “shiny, silver cylindrical object.”

Aaron said a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer was traveling along the freeway Thursday afternoon when he noticed Eastep sitting on the crash barrier.

When the soldier stopped and talked to Eastep in an attempt to get him off the highway, the man pulled out a box cutter, Aaron said. An official from Mt. Juliet police officer, who was traveling home with his family, saw what happened and stopped.

The two tried to de-escalate the situation for more than half an hour, according to Aaron.

“The man was holding a box cutter in his left hand. His right hand was in his pocket,” Aaron said. , said Aaron.

Nine officers then shot Eastep, according to Aaron, who added that police have not yet determined what the object was, but that it was not a firearm. No Tasers were used before the shooting, though at least one officer had one on standby, he added.

“When the shiny cylindrical object was seen, the officers fired. Without knowing what it was, the officers fired in defense of themselves, unaware of what potential threat could have been in the right hand when it quickly appeared. of his pocket, ā€¯Aaron said.

Eastep was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead.

“Throughout the conversation, the soldier believed it would be okay. It was the push away from the trooper and the manufacture of the box cutter that escalated it up to a major law enforcement response,” he said.

Traffic on both sides of the highway was backed up for miles after the confrontation, according to Tennessean.

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