Following deadly officer-involved shooting, Hawkins Co. sheriff thankful his deputies were not injured

HAWKINS COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Following a deadly officer involved shooting in Hawkins County, the sheriff there is thankful his deputies went home unharmed.

That shooting in Church Hill on Monday night left 25-year-old Eugene Loftis dead. Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said he was wanted for attempted murder out of Dickenson County, Virginia.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said a Hawkins County officer fired shots when Loftis reached for a gun.

“When he pulled the weapon he never got a chance to fire it,” Sheriff Lawson said. “I just want my officers to always go home after their shift.”

Sheriff Lawson is thankful his officers went home unharmed Monday night after firing shots on Okolona Road in Church Hill.

Hawkins County deputies spotted Loftis in the passenger seat of a vehicle there.

When they asked him to show his hands, the sheriff says he refused.

“He unzipped his coat reached inside and pulled out a hand gun, and the officer fired upon him,” Lawson said.

Sheriff Lawson said his department knew Loftis. The suspect was jailed in Hawkins County three times from 2012 through 2015 for charges like theft and assault.

His most recent felony charges out of Virginia included attempted murder and robbery, the sheriff says, happening just Monday morning, according to warrants.

One day later, Sheriff Lawson says the officers on scene Monday night are doing well, and he stands by their actions.

“There was a choice to be made and he made the wrong one. Because if he complied with the officer’s command to show his hands, he would still be alive today,” Lawson said.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says special agents are continuing to investigate.

Copyright 2018 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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