Ex-cop involved in chase had criminal history
Channel 3 is learning more about the man authorities say took his own life after a brief chase along Interstate 24 Tuesday afternoon. Forty-four-year-old Charles Murphree was a former police officer in Ider, Alabama. He was wanted on domestic assault charges in Dekalb County.
Charles Murphree was first spotted by law enforcement at the Western Sizzlin restaurant in Jasper. A brief chase started, as he took off down Interstate 24 Westbound. It turns out the former cop has a criminal history, which may have been his motivation to run.
Channel 3 was there as traffic came to a stop Tuesday on Interstate 24 Westbound. Police cars, with lights flashing, blocked the road. Just moments before, the driver of a white van led law enforcement on a chase.
"Officers were approaching the vehicle when he discharged his weapon and killed himself," said Marion County Sheriff Bo Burnett.
The man behind the wheel was 44-year-old Charles Murphree. He was wanted on domestic assault charges out of Dekalb County, Alabama.
Dekalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris declined to talk about the case on camera but his office had knowledge that Murphree was possibly in the Marion County area and told law enforcement there to be on the lookout.
Channel 3 learned it was not the first time Murphree was in trouble with the law. He used to wear a badge, as a police officer for the Ider Police Department. In 2012, police arrested Murphree and charged him with domestic violence while on duty. Knowing a warrant was being filed again Tuesday for another domestic violence charge, Murphree fled Dekalb County.
"The information we received was that he was armed and possibly dangerous and in this area," said Burnett.
When Murphree was spotted at a restaurant in Jasper, he took off. Sheriff Burnett says the chase was brief and officers are still in disbelief over how it ended.
"I'm just thankful that none of our officers were hurt. A lot of those situations, you get officers hurt. But we didn't have any officers hurt. Some of them were shaken up, but they weren't physically hurt."
Burnett also says his department's thoughts are with Murphree's family.
"You see things like that and people don't understand it affects them, it affects everybody. I'm sorry about all this. I don't know the family but I'm sure they're going through a rough time,"said Burnett.
The investigation was handed over to the TBI. Murphree's body was sent to Nashville for an autopsy.