Sheriff: Man drove wrong way numerous times, pointed gun at deputy before being shot


One man is dead following an officer-involved shooting in Carter County, Tennessee.

According to Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford, deputies responded to Big Springs Road around 12:30 p.m. Monday and found a woman who said her husband, Buford Shane Whitson, had a gun and hit her in the face. The woman had a swollen eye, a bloody nose, and a busted mouth. She said that after assaulting her, Buford Whitson left the house with a .22 revolver threatening to shoot deputies when they arrived and said he wanted to die.

Police said Whitson fled into the woods before deputies arrived. Police tried to find him using K9s, but were unable to. Whitson's wife was taken to the hospital to treat her injuries and warrants were prepared charging Whitson with aggravated assault under domestic violence.

Deputies then passed Whitson around 7:20 p.m. driving a small Saturn vehicle as he was headed into Elizabethton at the intersection of West G Street and Old Elizabethton Highway. Authorities caught up to Whitson near Sycamore Shoals Hospital and tried to pull him over. Whitson fled turning onto Williams Avenue and eventually back onto West Elk Avenue heading toward Johnson City. Whitson drove into oncoming traffic several times as he fled toward Johnson City on Highway 67.

While on Highway 67, Whitson drove westbound in the eastbound lanes several times, through the median, back toward Elizabethton, and eventually back toward Johnson City. A deputy was able to get in front of Whitson's vehicle with the intent to deploy spike strips. When the deputy deployed the strips, Whitson tried to run over the deputy.

Whitson did run over the spike strips and his vehicle came to rest near the Milligan Highway overpass on the shoulder of the oncoming eastbound lane with his vehicle headed westbound.

Deputies then approached Whitson's vehicle and found he was armed with a snub-nosed black revolver with the hammer cocked and the weapon pointed at his head. Whitson refused to put the gun down after deputies told him to. During negotiations, a non-lethal tactic was used to disarm him without success. Whitson then pointed the gun at a deputy and Whitson was shot. He was taken to the hospital and was pronounced dead.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has been called to conduct an independent investigation.

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