Remembering Sgt. Tim Chapin four years after tragic day - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

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Remembering Sgt. Tim Chapin four years after tragic day

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Four years ago today, Chattanooga Police Department Sgt. Tim Chapin was killed in a gunfight with parolee Jesse Mathews on April 2, 2011.

Chapin, along with fellow officer Lorin Johnston responded to an automatic robbery alarm at the U.S. Money Shops at 5952 Brainerd.

As was his custom, Chapin was having a cup of coffee at the nearby Starbucks and was the first officer at the scene, arriving within one minute of the initial call.

Mathews, who was heavily armed and wearing protective body armor, began shooting at police as they arrived at the scene.

He escaped from the store through a side door, and police gave chase while exchanging gunfire. Mathews was struck by a police car during the pursuit, but managed to keep running.

The shooting ended with both Chapin and Johnston wounded; Chapin's wounds would be fatal. Mathews was hit several times.

Chapin's death marked the most recent fallen officer in the city since that of Julie Jacks in 2002.

The streets along the funeral procession were lined with hundreds of citizens who took the time to show their respects to Chapin and his family.

Remembered by fellow cops and friends as a quiet and humble man, Chapin was active in his church helping their youth group.

Later in 2011, both Chapin and Johnston were honored for their service and sacrifice on the floor of the U.S. House by U.S. Congressman Chuck Fleischmann.

Lorin Johnston was named on of the nation's Top Cops by the National Association of Police Organizations for his actions during the gunfight, where he shielded Sgt. Tim Chapin with his body.

Johnston suffered gunshot wounds to his back and leg.

Chapin was honored as Officer of the Year by the Chattanooga Exchange Club.


Since the 2011 shooting, Mathews made a plea deal, admitting his guilt in the murder. He was sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole. An additional 25 years was added to his sentence for other felony charges.

Members of Mathews' family were also charged as accessories, with his father, mother, sister and her boyfriend. Part of their plea deal was an waiver agreement to not appeal their sentences.

In early 2013, Channel 3 discovered Mathews had been moved to a medium security prison.

Shortly afterwards, Mathews was returned to the maximum security unit at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary in Henning, at the request of then-District Attorney General Bill Cox.

Mathews is currently in maximum security at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville.

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