UPDATE: Police identify suspect in fatal shooting
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Chattanooga police released more information about a Saturday morning gun battle that killed a patrol sergeant and injured a second officer.
At 10:24 Saturday morning, Hamilton County 911 received notice of an automatic hold up alarm from U.S. Money Shops. The first officer dispatched to the store at 5952 Brainerd Road arrived within one minute. By 10:26am he notified dispatchers that the robbery suspect, a Colorado parolee named Jesse Mathews, was shooting at officers through the store's plate glass windows.
Officers on the scene said the gunman ran to the back of the store and ducked out a side door onto the street. He continued shooting as additional officers arrived. Police say that Mathews fired into the patrol car of Sergeant James Timothy Chapin. Matthews was hit by the car but kept running, which led Sgt. Chapin to jump out of his car and give chase. Investigators say Matthews shot the 26-year C.P.D. veteran in the head. At 10:29am, a patrolman notified dispatch of an officer down. By 10:40am, the husband and father of two was pronounced dead on the scene.
Other officers returned fire, hitting Matthews at least a dozen times. He was taken into custody within 5 minutes of the initial alarm report. Matthews and officer Lorin Johnston were taken to Erlanger Medical Center. Officer Johnston was treated for a gunshot to the back, which reportedly hit his kevlar vest. He was released from the emergency room Saturday afternoon.
Matthews' condition has not been officially released due to his status as a fugitive. The parolee is wanted in Colorado on robbery warrants. Three officers have told Eyewitness News that Matthews is in a medically induced coma. Officers on the scene that asked to not be identified tell Channel 3 that Matthews was heavily armed and wearing body armor.
Chattanooga police spokeswoman Sgt. Jerri Weary released a statement on behalf of the department stating that the investigation is expected to be lengthy due to the high volume of evidence that needs to be collected. Reconstructing the incident may take several days.
The six police officers who survived the shoot out are on paid administrative leave which is standard procedure in any officer-involved shooting.
Steve Scoggins of U.S. Money Shops issued a statement saying:
"We appreciate the bravery of the heroes at the Chattanooga Police Department and other agencies who protected our employees, customers and other innocent bystanders today. We join the community in this time of mourning as we are deeply saddened by the tragic events that occurred today."
Sergeant Chapin is the 20th Chattanooga Police officer killed in the line of duty since the city began keeping records following the Civil War.
He is the first Chattanooga officer killed in action since Officer Julie Jacks was shot and killed in May of 2002.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been released.
Stay with wrcbtv.com for updates as this story unfolds.