New information in deadly Marion County officer-related shooting - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New information in deadly Marion County officer-related shooting

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JASPER, TN (WRCB) -

Four months after he stole an ambulance in Chattanooga, a man tries to steal a boat and then a car. This time it ended with a Marion County Deputy shooting and killing him.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation identifies the suspect as 29-year-old John Edward Shanks.

A man who came face to face with the suspect says he is sad Shanks was shot and killed but at the same time, glad he was able to walk away alive.

"You shouldn't ever trust anyone just because they look like they're down and out and they've had a bad day. You've got to be a little more careful," says Dan Souther.

Souther says he was just trying to help Shanks when he asked for a ride to the marina.

"I was assuming that his car was over there, or vehicle, and it turned out not to be," says Souther.

He says Shanks caught him off guard as they were getting into his boat.

"Took him down on a golf cart, was going to take him across to the marina in the boat to drop him off and then that's when things went bad," says Souther.

He says Shanks managed to grab a pistol out of his pocket, while shoving him into the water. Souther's wife saw everything from their cabin, grabbed her gun and ran to her husband as he came ashore. As Shanks tried to start the boat and take off, Souther managed to fire three warning shots at Shanks which scared him away. Souther says thankfully Shanks did not fire back.

"I thank the Lord for that," he says.

As Marion County deputies arrived, Shanks gave up on trying to steal a getaway car, and ran into the woods.

"An officer with my department did confront the man. From my understanding, preliminary, the person pointed a firearm at the officer and he used deadly force," says Marion County Sheriff Ronnie 'Bo' Burnett.

This was not the first time Shanks tried to steal a vehicle. In May, Channel 3 was there as police arrested him after stealing an ambulance from a Chattanooga hospital.

"If he hadn't have shoved me in the lake and taken my pistol as I was going in the lake, I would have taken him to the marina and dropped him off and everything would have been fine," says Souther.

Souther says it is sad things ended the way they did.

"Sorry the poor boy got killed over it but sometimes that's the way it works out," he says.

Channel 3 was contacted by a family member of John Shanks. She says the news of his death is heartbreaking for the family. She says for the past six months or so Shanks had been battling a meth addiction, and was on the run from a state-mandated rehab program. She says the family understands the deputy did what he had to do to protect his life.

The shooting is still under investigation by the TBI.

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