Police Chief Decommissions Officer Who Fired Final 2 Shots When 9 Officers Opened Fire

The officer who fired the final two shots in the Thursday shooting of 37-year-old Landon Eastep in Nashville has been decommissioned and stripped of "policing power" pending completion of the investigation of the incident by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, authorities announced Friday.

Eastep was seen by a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer sitting on a guardrail alongside Interstate 65 Thursday afternoon, and after a brief conversation in which the officer said he offered Eastep a ride so he wasn't on the highway, Eastep allegedly pulled a box cutter from his pocket, The Associated Press reported.

The officer backed away and called for backup and another patrol officer, six Metro Nashville Police officers and an off-duty Mount Juliet officer who stopped while on his way home arrived at the scene. Police said a 30-minute conversation ensued in which the officers tried to calm Eastep down and get him to drop the box cutter before he reached into his right pocket, pulling out a "metal cylindrical object" and pointing it at the officers, according to the police press release.

The nine officers assumed the object was a gun and opened fire, hitting Eastep an estimated 30 times, the AP reported. The object was later determined not to have been a firearm.

Brian Murphy, a 25-year veteran of the Nashville Police Department, fired the last two shots from a rifle and was the officer decommissioned by Nashville Police Chief John Drake Friday, the police press release states.

Nashville Tennessee Police Shooting Landon Chelesy Eastep
Defense attorney Joy Kimbrough, addresses the media outside the Nashville Metro Courthouse, Friday, in Nashville, Tenn, as Chelesy Eastep, third from left, is comforted. Authorities on the day before had pleaded with 37-year-old Landon Eastep to surrender while keeping him at gunpoint, but killed him when he pulled another shiny object from his pocket and pointed it at police as if ready to shoot. Kimberlee Kruesi/Associated Press

The other five Nashville officers are on "routine administrative assignment," police said, while the AP reported that the state troopers are on "routine discretionary leave" as the TBI investigates the incident.

"Come on brother, just drop the knife, get your hand out of your pocket. If that's a gun that you've got in there, don't worry about it, we'll figure it out! We'll fix it!" one officer can be heard saying in the body camera footage released by the Nashville Police Department.

A spokesperson for the department told the AP that while the video is disturbing, the department released it to increase understanding of what happened.

"Landon was very loving, he always had me laughing," Eastep's wife Chelesy said at a Friday news conference, the AP reported. "He was all-around exceptional, he tried to do anything he could to make people happy."

Chelesy, 30, said Landon was "agitated" Thursday morning before leaving the house, and her attorney Joy Kimbrough said that Landon Eastep had "bipolar issues," according to CNN.

"I think they should have been trying to get him some sort of help," Kimbrough said according to the AP. "I don't think they should have been standing there with guns drawn ready to shoot given any opportunity."

The AP also reported that Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk said Friday that his office would take "any appropriate action" upon completion of the TBI investigation, and promised to release their report in full once it's completed.