TBI investigates Lenoir City shooting

Members of local law enforcement stand outside a home on Waller Street in downtown Lenoir City.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is continuing the probe of an officer-involved shooting after two Loudon County Sheriff’s Office deputies attempted to serve civil process paperwork at a Lenoir City residence.

According to an LCSO press release, deputies arrived at 9:39 a.m. Feb. 3 at a home on Waller Street.

“Came in contact with the occupant and an altercation ensued and there was an exchange of gunfire inside the residence,” Tim Guider, Loudon County sheriff, said. “Past that ... we asked Blount County to assist us. We retreated and Blount County SWAT team came over and through their protocol and no contact with the occupant, they sent in their robot to see if there was any interaction. We never had any further interaction with the occupant. Further learned that unfortunately the occupant was found deceased.”

Flash bangs were used at some point in hopes of getting “any response that they could possibly from whoever may be inside,” he said.

TBI determined Tracy Hope Walter-Hensley, 56, died during the standoff with law enforcement.

Russell Johnson, 9th Judicial District attorney general, has not received the results of an autopsy performed on Walter-Hensley.

“The investigation is ongoing and we will await the results of the crime scene review, the interviews, the review of the body camera and in-car camera video footage, etc.,” Johnson said.

Guider said he did not know who was responsible for Walter-Hensley’s death. No deputies were injured in the exchange of gunfire.

“It’s a sad day in the sheriff’s office for anything like this to happen,” Guider said.

Don White, Lenoir City police chief, said law enforcement had previous involvement with the woman, but he would not provide details.

TBI’s involvement is standard protocol for officer-involved shootings, Guider said. TBI becomes the lead agency in the investigation.

“When I was made aware by LCPD Chief Don White that there was an incident with Loudon County sheriff’s deputies being fired upon by a suspect upon whom they were serving civil process in Lenoir City and that one or more of the deputies returned fire, that indicated to me that we had an officer-involved shooting, so I put the TBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge on notice,” Johnson said in an email correspondence. “LCSO and LCPD then worked together to set up a perimeter and requested mutual aid assistance from Blount County’s SWAT team that brought both their ‘Bearcat’ tactical vehicle and their remotely controlled robot with camera that is used for accessing structures where a shooter may be barricaded so that law enforcement can determine what is happening inside without having officers to make entry in dangerous situations.

“In this case the robot was used to determine that the female suspect was lying on the floor in the house and was not responding to the robot’s presence of the ‘flash bangs’ that were used to get a response from the prone suspect,” he added.

Samantha Johnson is a neighbor who saw police drive up the street and heard sirens, which she said was “unusual” for her neighborhood.

She said her boyfriend called her and told her to go the basement.

“I would never expect anything like this to go on across the street from where I live,” Johnson said. “... Kept hearing loud booms. It’s not something I want to hear again.”

Amanda Davis was on her way to work when she heard about the shooting. She drove to her grandfather’s house off D Street about 10:30 a.m.

“We thought somebody was shooting, something bad was going on,” Davis said. “We definitely heard the megaphone saying, ‘Come out with your hands up. This is the sheriff’s office. Come out with your hands up.’ Then we heard the flash bangs or whatever, and then it was quiet for a while and then shots.”

Even though the shooting wasn’t on her grandfather’s street, Davis said the altercation was still “pretty nerve-wracking.”

“We knew shots were being fired, but from where and to where we weren’t sure. Kind of scary,” Davis said.