Deputy on paid leave following accidental shooting
Story by Gordon Boyd
Eyewitness News Reporter
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- New details on what the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office has termed an accidental shooting by one of its deputies.
It put a drug suspect in the hospital and the officer on paid leave.
Law officers will tell you no search is routine, when the warrant is for drugs.
The proof is a young man with a bullet wound in his left leg.
The sheriff is asking whether Deputy Mike Thompson went by the book and if the wounding was avoidable.
"I stayed in my apartment like I was told to, but when I peeked through the door, they looked like swat teams going up the stairs, they had rifles and guns," says Doris Bradley, resident.
Doris Bradley says she doesn't know 22-year-old Cecil Vance, or 19-year-old Samantha Cronin.
She heard Hamilton County's narcotics and special ops team heading upstairs for her neighbor's door.
"They introduced who they were, then they knocked the door down and what I heard was a gunshot," says Bradley.
A gunshot from a special ops deputy's rifle that wounded Vance in his left leg.
"I saw an ambulance out here, I saw all kinds of detectives," says Bradley.
"It was not the intent of the officer to fire the weapon," says Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond.
Sheriff Jim Hammond says Hamilton County's procedures vary, depending on what type warrants his deputies are serving.
But servers rarely work solo.
And the book requires they go in, ready for resistance.
"From what preliminary evidence I have, they were following proper procedure in the number of personnel that were there," says Hammond. "It was a search warrant for drugs and drug manufacturing, which ramps it up higher than going to arrest somebody for a few drugs and marijuana."
As for which drugs, the sheriff isn't saying.
But deputies have charged Vance and Cronin with manufacturing and possessing marijuana, and felony possession of paraphernalia.
"They should have explained because I didn't know what was going on," says Bradley.
The manager of Concorde Apartments says investigators never told her anything until well after Vance and Cronin were under arrest.
The manager says the couple was guests, not residents listed on the lease.
"Internal affairs will look at everything that was done to see if we followed proper procedure," says Hammond.
One day later, Doris Bradley is still agitated.
"I never heard a gunshot before and it really scared the life out of me," says Bradley.
Late Thursday afternoon, we learned the deputy's name is Mike Thompson.
Sheriff Hammond says he is a veteran, and on paid leave, standard procedure during the review.
He expects that could take a week and a half.