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Posted: Sunday, January 21, 2018 06:34 PM

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Footage Just Released Of Sevier County Deputy Experiencing What Appears To Be "Panic Attack" During Arrest Last December

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A Sevier County deputy experienced what appeared to be a panic attack that was described by detectives as a "possible cardiac event" after a foot chase pursuing a suspect last December. The deputy's body camera captured the entire encounter, and on Tuesday, a man who once trained East Tennessee police officers weighed in on the footage.

Former Knox County Chief Deputy Tom Spangler pointed out what he described as an unusual moment.

During the deputy's apparent panic attack, an EMT eventually took his gun from his hands. Spangler said that isn't something that would usually happen.

Spangler said officers are trained to not let their weapons go, but he also said there's something the EMT could have seen that isn't present in the bodycam footage. Spangler said law enforcement officers train in stressful situations, but they may never know what they could come across.

"Any officer-involved shooting or critical incident, whether it be a crash involving a small child, which we've all had to deal with, or things the average person doesn't see on a daily basis that law enforcement does deal with," Spangler explained.

A law enforcement professional with 17 years of experience in Tennessee told Local 8 News different officers perceive different threats, based on how their bodies react under stress. Hearing, peripheral vision and fine motor skills may all decrease in situations in which responders are placed in stressful and possible life-threatening situations.

The law enforcement professional said every human is different, and what some officers handle with great poise, others may find difficulty in coping with and processing.

In this particular situation, the law enforcement professional told Local 8 News, the bodycam angle didn't show the deputy's perceived threat.

A statement from Sevier County Sheriff Ronald Seals explained the county can not make any public comment on any criminal case until it has been adjudicated.

"I've served this community for over 40 years and even though I cannot comment specifically on this incident I CAN and WILL say without hesitation that every deputy at the Sevier County Sheriff's Office does the best that he or she can, given the dynamic, complicated, stressful, dangerous, and fluid situations that we are called to mediate every time a call for help is dispatched," Sheriff Seals said. "Please understand that we always accept responsibility, both good and bad, for our actions and reactions in all situations."




    According to a Sevier County Sheriff's Office incident report, a deputy responded to an "unknown situation" on Dec. 31, 2016, in Sevierville that ended in his transportation to the hospital after firing seven rounds at a male suspect and experiencing what detectives reported as a "possible cardiac event." Upon arriving at the scene on Sharp Road, the deputy said he made contact with an EMT who advised he needed assistance with a "morbidly obese female" who fell in the floor inside of a small camper on the property. The woman had apparently told the EMT she had experienced abuse from the landlord, Robin Sutton, and that she would most likely need law enforcement investigation into the matter. The woman told the deputy she did not know what day or time it was, or how long she had been on the floor. She said she had been previously evicted from a different residence and had agreed with the landlord to rent a small camper space on the property from Sutton.

The woman told the deputy she had previously fallen several times, and when she fell, Sutton and her daughter had taken her phone and charging cord so that she could not call for help. She said Sutton and her daughter had taken her purse, which contained her identification, bank card, pain medications and other items. As the woman was describing the theft, the deputy reported he saw a female subject who was later identified as Tina Cody. The deputy said the subject was climbing through the fence and preparing to flee on foot. The deputy ordered her not to run and to stop where she was, but he said Cody refused and ran through the field towards Sharp Road. The deputy reported he then notified dispatchers he was in foot pursuit of a female subject who was running through the field and that he suspected her of having a warrant out that was not related to the current incident. When the deputy encountered Cody at the end of the field where it met Sharp Road, he ordered her to put her hands up and walk to him so that he could handcuff her. At that time, a male EMT helped the deputy apprehend Cody. The deputy's body camera footage shows Cody restrained on the ground when the deputy asked her why she had been running, to which she answered her mother had told her to.

The deputy said while the EMT helped him detain Cody, he heard a male voice coming from a short distance behind him yell, "I've got a gun, motherf*****!" The deputy reported he turned and noticed a white male suspect, who was later identified as Tina Cody's boyfriend Brian Mullinax. The deputy said Mullinax was "pacing wildly" on the porch of a nearby trailer before squatting and aiming an object at the deputy that "appeared to be a firearm in his hand." The deputy said he immediately fired his gun seven times "in defense of my life, the EMT, and the apprehended subject." The deputy reported he notified dispatchers and his supervisor that shots were fired and he needed help because he had identified the male subject as having a firearm. Shortly after he called dispatch, the deputy said the subject dropped the object and put his hands in the air before exiting the porch and lying on the ground until responding units arrived and took him into custody. Detective's notes on the incident report indicated the deputy was taken to the hospital with injuries and "may have suffered some type of cardiac event as a result of this assault by both male and female."

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