Police release details of 2 deadly officer involved shootings

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Knoxville police are opening up about two officer involved shootings.

The first stems from a November 15th shoplifting incident at the Chapman Highway Walmart.

Two Knoxville police officers, John Mays and Toliver Robertson, are back on duty after being placed on paid suspension.

They were called to Walmart's loss prevention office on November 15, 2011. Two men were in the office for trying to steal lightbulbs.

One of them, Zachary Russell, refused to give identification and would not sit down. Officer Robertson was only a foot away and tried to tase him, but Russell did not back down.

That's when Officer Mays tried to wrestle him to the ground. Sometime during the fight, Russell pulled out a gun and aimed it at Robertson's head.

Police think Russell pulled the trigger, but the gun did not fire.

In response, Officer Mays started shooting. He shot his gun 8 times, hitting Russell 7 of those times: 3 in the shoulder, 3 in the abs, and one in the ear.

Russell had multiple previous theft convictions.

The second shooting took place on September 1st in the City of Knoxville.

Jason Pannell was shot and killed by police after he pulled the trigger four times.

Police say he got kicked out of the Magnolia Cafe and fought with an off duty officer.

That officer called for back up, and when the second officer arrived on scene Pannell fired four bullets. The police fired 23 times.

They hit Pannell three times, once in the arm, once in the shoulder and a third time he was grazed in the back.

Pannell had a lengthy criminal history, he was also suspected in a number of area rapes.

The two officers involved in the shooting, Lynn Clemons and Jason Kalmanek are both back on duty.


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  • by tk on Jan 14, 2012 at 12:55 PM
    Anyone whos had any involvement with KPD knows that laws, rules and expectations don't apply to them. They can take life or destroy life and because they are "the law", there is no consequence. Whether its a shooting, a traffic stop, or personal domestic violence...its all the same. They enforce the law...period. They are not required to follow it!
  • by curious on Jan 9, 2012 at 12:25 PM
    I am curious to know if this shooting happened at 640 why does the picture say 7:00? Just saying......
  • by David on Jan 7, 2012 at 04:28 PM
    I understand that the officers had to shoot and kill him. What I don't understand is the timeline. Last night you all said the guy at Walmart was shot (I believe it was anywhere from 14-16 times) - now you say 6. But the way you tell it makes it sound like the officer tried to taser him, shot him 6 times and then tasered him again. That doesn't make sense to me. Why would anyone use deadly force and then switch to non-lethal force. Bad reporting I guess.
  • by Poolio on Jan 7, 2012 at 12:57 PM
    Issac you don't have a clue. Deadly force was authorized. Look up the definition of Deadly Force.
  • by Poolio on Jan 7, 2012 at 12:50 PM
    You shoot till the threat is eliminated. The officers did what they were trained to do. It dosen't matter if it was 50 shots. 49 wasn't enough 50 was enough to stop the threat!
  • by Adam Location: K-town on Jan 7, 2012 at 11:51 AM
    @ issack
    You lack the knowledge of an officer and his duties. We are trained to shoot till the threat is neutralized. It could take 1 bullet or 16 bullets. It depends on what the criminal is on (drugs). There has been cases where criminals has received multiple gunshots to the head, managed to kill 1 officer and still continue to kill another. It took 16 bullets to end their life because they was so drugged up their bodies kept going. So your answer to the excessive shooting..... You will never understand. So don't be the guy laying on the floor trying to take an officers life. It will be fatal for you, we have trained for that situation.... You are going into a battle blind with no experience!!
  • by Kenny Location: Knox Vegas on Jan 7, 2012 at 10:01 AM
    I don't care if they had to go to the Sporting Goods section for more ammo if that is what it took to stop the threat! Real life isn't a Dirty Harry movie. You don't fire one shot and blow someone five feet backwards through a plate glass window, immediately stopping the situation. Anyone with an elementary understanding of physics should know that! Unless a bullet impacts the brain or spinal cord, gunshot wounds are NOT immediately incapacitating. So, a person with a “fatal” chest wound can still be a threat for several minutes. A person with abdomen or shoulder wounds could remain a threat for much longer and require more shots to stop them (maybe more than 14). Yes, the police sometimes shoot people. When they do, it is usually more than once. But only 1% of police encounters, nationwide, involve ANY use of force. Of those, only 0.2% involves the use, or threatened use of a firearm. That kind of shoots the “trigger happy cop” argument in the foot, doesn’t it?
  • by Ashley on Jan 7, 2012 at 09:55 AM
    What concerns me the most is that people are upset by the fact that officers used deadly force when a GUN was used against them! I mean really people. Imagine a man pointing a gun at you and thinking about your children, your spouse and the rest of your family and friends who would have to go through life without you. Tell me you wouldn't fire multiple shots at a man trying to take your LIFE. And let me say this, it doesn't matter if he tried to shoot the gun or not because I wouldn't wait long enough to find out because that might be the last thing I did. It can't be easy taking someone's life even if they tried to take yours. Thanks to the officers and all the sacrifices they make for a sadly ungrateful population.
  • by Player Location: k town on Jan 7, 2012 at 09:54 AM
    There are a couple of idiots who have posted here! If you think you can be a cop go do it! But wait you can't pass the drug test or hit the broad side of a barn!
  • by Issac Location: Knox County on Jan 7, 2012 at 08:56 AM
    A civil lawsuit needs to be filed to get a true perspective of the entire events that actually occurred. This would be from the moment the two "suspects" are seen on any video surveillance. The KPD claims that Mays followed proper procedures in the shooting. That is not correct. It is NOT policy to shoot EIGHT times. It is once or twice. Also, I would like to see Officer Mays release an object from his hands while he is being tazed. The claims that a gun was pointed at the officers head are a cover-up. If you look at the Walmart employee in the white shirt he looks rather calm and the other shoplifting suspect has his arms folded on his stomach. What are those stains on the tiled foor? Officer Mays shot to death a person with only misdemeanor convictions. How would Officer Mays feel if he had a son who received the same exact treatment under the same circumstances.
    • reply
      by Alex on Jan 7, 2012 at 11:05 AM in reply to Issac
      And the award for most ignorant and least-thought out comment goes to Issac! Congratulations.
    • reply
      by Ashley on Jan 7, 2012 at 10:34 PM in reply to Issac
      Really...? Sir, I wonder what you would do if a gun was pointed at you.
    • reply
      by me on Jan 8, 2012 at 09:12 AM in reply to Issac
      Issac very good this is what I would like to see happen also for some reason this video is not being made public I myself wouldnt want to see it but when this case was closed law says this becomes public anyone should that wanted to should be able to watch and make up their own minds if there was any wrong doings
    • reply
      by sam on Jan 15, 2012 at 08:01 PM in reply to Issac
      really this is the most selfish comment made on here. That so called stain on the tile is the guys hat you dummy. and the guy in the white shirt looks to me like he is shrugging his shoulders and holding his hands to his chest that officer was doing what he had to do to portect everyone in that room would you have wanted the same treatment if you were in that room? what about if you child was in that room or your wife or mother?
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