At the request of 16th District Attorney General Jennings Jones, TBI Special Agents are investigating the circumstances of an officer-involved shooting that occurred Tuesday afternoon in La Vergne.
Initial reports indicate that shortly after noon, a La Vergne Police Department K9 officer had turned on to Murfreesboro Road from the police station, when a vehicle pulled alongside on the passenger side, and fired shots into his patrol car.
The officer pursued the driver, and other officers joined the pursuit. The subject, later identified as Javon Brice, 39, drove into a residential complex at 1502 Rutherford Point Circle.
Information from the scene indicates Brice exited his vehicle and fired at officers, with officers returning fire. He got back into his vehicle and drove further into the parking lot, striking a parked vehicle before coming to rest.
When officers approached the vehicle, they found Brice has sustained a gunshot wound. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was declared deceased.
The K9 officer discovered his dog had suffered a gunshot wound, and the canine was taken to an emergency veterinary clinic for treatment.
As of Wednesday morning, Nov. 18, the K9 was in critical condition after being shot three times.
Sjaak (pronounced Jacques) is a Belgian Malinois who has been with the department since 2014. His handler, Officer Justin Darby, was not injured in the shooting incident. Sjaak was scheduled to undergo emergency surgery Wednesday.
“We’re all praying for Sjaak and Officer Darby,” Interim Chief Chip Davis said. “A K9 is more than just a dog to our handlers, they’re a partner.”
No other law enforcement officers were injured. The name of the deceased individual is currently being withheld, pending the notification of relatives.
The investigation remains active and ongoing, as TBI Agents continue to gather any and all relevant evidence, interviews, and information. Throughout the process, investigative findings will be shared with the District Attorney General for his further review and consideration.
The TBI does not identify the officers involved in these incidents and instead, refers questions of that nature to the respective department to answer as it sees fit.
As a reminder, the TBI acts solely as fact-finders in its cases and does not determine whether the actions of an officer were justified in these types of matters. That decision rests solely with the District Attorney General requesting TBI’s involvement.
Any updates on this investigation will be posted online at TBINewsroom.com.