KPD reveals gun training with an armed suspect

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The investigation continues into the officer involved shooting at a Walmart that happened Tuesday. An accused shoplifter was shot by a cop, as he allegedly pulled a gun.

Now, the Knoxville Police Department wants you to see how officers are trained to handle a situation where weapons are involved.

KPD Chief David Rausch said they've heard a lot of negative feedback, since the officer shot and killed Zach Russell, and there have been many questions about what officers are trained to do.

Sergeant Shane Watson is a KPD training instructor. Using a video simulator, he teaches officers when to pull either a gun or tazer from their belt.

The state requires cops get 40 hours of firearms training, but KPD doubles that, in both lethal and non-lethal weapons.

Chief Rausch said, "What our responsibility and our role is, is to protect society, and the last thing that we want to do is to have to use deadly force."

Rausch said the officers that answered the Walmart shoplifting call had a bad feeling. They said one of the suspects started to struggle, and officers tried to use a tazer, but it didn't work.

That's when officers say Zach Russell pulled a gun. "Officer Mays then responded with lethal force as trained. Someone used lethal force on us, we're going to use lethal force," Rausch said.

KPD officers are trained to look for an imminent threat, and they say shooting for a small target, like a hand or a leg is nearly impossible, so they train to aim for something large, like the chest."

Watson said, "And even still if you were able to shoot someone in the arm or the leg, that may not necessarily stop them."

Their standard defensive response calls for two shots to the center of the target. "We would never deploy a tazer against someone with a weapon, especially a side-arm," Watson explained.

Chief Rausch said while the investigation is on-going, he has seen the Walmart security video and said the officers responded just as they were trained.

If you are interested in learning more about KPD training, they offer a Citizens Police Academy. It's a once a week, 12-week course. For more information call 865-215-7000 or CLICK HERE.

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