7 deputies on paid leave after shooting, killing 74-year-old man

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A man identified as Albert Gagnier, 74, was shot and killed by Knox County deputies Tuesday night,after allegedly pointing his gun at neighbors and eventually firing at officers.

One neighbor told Local 8 News Gagnier was a veteran of the Marines who suffered a brain tumor and battled post traumatic stress disorder.

Deputies arrived in the Woodhaven subdivision near South Doyle High School after receiving multiple 911 calls around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday that a man was firing shots at people along Hay Meadow Trail. One caller reported the man was armed with a pistol and a long gun.

Both the Knoxville Police Department and the Knox County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene.

A representative with the Knoxville Police Department said when deputies arrived, a deadly confrontation between Gagnier and deputies ensued. According to investigators, Gagnier raised a pistol and pointed it toward Knox County deputies while walking towards them. That's when officers returned fire, killing the man.

Neighbors told Local 8 News they heard around 6 gunshots, and one man said his wife and kids barricaded themselves inside their home.

"The deputies shot the suspect in defense of their lives and the lives of the citizens in the immediate area," KPD Spokesman Darrell DeBusk said.

Gagnier was pronounced dead at UT Medical Center. An autopsy was performed early Wednesday.

Seven Knox County Sheriff's Office deputies involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave with pay pending the results of the investigation. Officials said the administrative leave is a standard operating procedure for a deputy involved in a shooting.

Local 8 News Reporter Donovan Long spoke to a neighbor Wednesday who knew Gagnier as "Mr. Al."

The neighbor said he was great friends with Mr. Al and tried to calm him down Tuesday night but Gagnier turned the gun on him instead.

Dean Dixon was outside when he said Gagnier started exhibiting erratic behavior. Dixon told Local 8 News he was shocked as he watched deputies shoot and kill his neighbor in the middle of the street.

"When I saw that happen, a tear rolled down my eye," Dixon said. "A life just taken right in front of your eyes—it's a hard thing to see."

Other neighbors in the Woodhaven subdivision said Gagnier's wife was home with him at the time of the shooting and hid in the closet for safety.

KPD said family members and neighbors reported that Gagnier had been "exhibiting strange behavior" in recent weeks.

Investigators continue to review videos from the Knox County Sheriff's Office and question witnesses, conduct interviews, and learn more about what happened.