NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Law enforcement officers fatally shot a man walking on an interstate in Nashville Thursday afternoon, a deadly encounter that shut down traffic on a normally bustling travel corridor in Tennessee, authorities said.
The 37-year-old man was agitated and carrying a box cutter in his left hand, Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said. The agency said the man was walking along the highway before he was shot.
Officers tried for about a half-hour to de-escalate the situation but nine officers from three agencies fired at the man when he quickly pulled an unknown “silver, shiny cylindrical object” from his right pocket, Aaron said. He said he did not know what the object was but said it was not a firearm.
A video recording of the encounter obtained by WKRN-TV showed officers surrounding the man, who has his back to the berm between the northbound and southbound lanes. The footage shows officers opening fire after he removes his right hand from his pocket. Bursts of gunfire can be heard.
The man was hit multiple times and died, Aaron said. No officers were injured.
Interstate 65 in Nashville was closed in both directions for a time during the encounter and afterward as agencies remained on the scene including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, or TBI, authorities said. Two southbound lanes later became the first to reopen.
The TBI identified the man as Landon Eastep, 37, in a statement late Thursday. No hometown was given.
The agency said a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper first spotted Eastep about 2 p.m. on the northbound shoulder of the interstate at mile marker 76 and soon an off-duty officer from another jurisdiction, then others, arrived.
“The trooper attempted to negotiate with Eastep, and soon, an off-duty Mount Juliet Police Department officer also stopped, along with back-up officers from the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department” and more Highway Patrol troopers, the statement added.
It said those negotiations seeking Eastep’s surrender continued for about 30 minutes before at least nine officers fired at the man and he died at the scene.