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TN Officer Killed In Gun Battle With Colorado Fugitive

TN Officer Killed In Gun Battle With Colorado Fugitive

Chatanoogs Times Free Press via YellowBrix

April 04, 2011

CHATTANOOGA, TN – One by one, slowly, people started to come forward Sunday.

Some laid flowers beside the tape barrier outside the U.S. Money Shops store on Brainerd Road.

They didn’t personally know 51-year-old Chattanooga Police Department Sgt. Tim Chapin, but they mourned his loss.

“I’m just heartbroken,” said 62-year-old JoAnn Cook, choked with emotion, as she clutched a small vase of daisies adorned with a small American flag. “I grew up in Chattanooga. I can’t believe this happened. I just wanted to leave something.”

Behind her, 11 large bullet holes showed in the glass doors of the U.S. Money Shops, a pawnshop that was the scene of a gunbattle after a robbery Saturday.

Chapin, a 27-year veteran, was shot to death while pursuing the robbery suspect. Officer Lorin Johnston was hit in the back by a bullet but protected by body armor.

The suspect, Jesse R. Mathews, was also shot and remained hospitalized Sunday with no information available on his condition.

On Sunday, red tape X’s left by crime scene technicians showed where the battle unfolded on a road behind the pawnshop.

Chattanooga police said Chapin was one of three or four officers who answered the robbery alarm at 10:24 a.m. to the store at 5952 Brainerd Road. Police said the robber fired out the front door, then ran out a side door with police in pursuit. The robber shot at police during a 200-yard pursuit. Chapin hit the man with his car, but the man got back up and fired.

Chapin was shot in the head and died in just moments.

Several officers returned fire and took the suspect down. Colorado records show Mathews recently was paroled on a robbery conviction.

His Facebook page shows a picture of him with his chest and upper arms covered in tattoos of handguns, knives, bullets and brass knuckles.

Screen_shot_2011-04-04_at_8

Jesse Mathews

Chapin’s death hung on the minds of people who knew him and some who didn’t.

His usual table at Starbucks on Brainerd Road bore an empty coffee cup, a copy of the Times Free Press with the headline, “A city mourns,” and a hand-lettered sign: “This seat is closed out of respect for Officer Tim where he sat every day for the past two years.”

He had enjoyed his usual tall decaf coffee earlier Saturday morning.

“We were really, really busy that day. He managed to sit down for a few minutes, but then he darted out,” said Michelle Wade, who works as a barista at the coffeehouse.

She said the shift manager came up with the idea of reserving the table. Patrons reflected on the image as they stood in line before giving their order.

“I wrote the sign and we put it up. People are just looking at it. Nobody has sat there. It’s been quiet,” she said.

At Chapin’s church, Abba’s House Central Baptist in Hixson, the sermon was dedicated to the slain officer. He had been a member for 22 years.

“The man who shot Tim Chapin — if he gets down on his knees and asks for forgiveness, he can get saved,” senior pastor Ronnie Phillips said. “We may send him to the chair afterwards.”

About eight other police officers attend the church, which has a congregation of about 5,000 people. At the end of the service, about 30 emergency personnel gathered at the front.

Church members took up donations for the Chapin family. Chapin’s wife, Kelle, manages the Abba’s House Academy, a day care center for children. The couple has 12-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter.

Phillips said he spent two hours with Kelle Chapin after she learned the news.

“It seems like they have the steel in their soul,” Phillips said of the strength required of law enforcement spouses.

“Kelle’s broken, but this is what her husband did. And she told me every day when he went out, she knew that something could happen. She didn’t expect this.”

Chattanooga police officers continued to work the scene throughout the day Sunday with several people, including Cook, showing up to offer condolences.

“I just have a tremendous amount of respect for them. You never say thank you,” Cook said, describing people’s attitudes toward law enforcement officers. “You just expect them to be there.”

Colorado records show Jesse R. Mathews, 25, was convicted of robbery in 2003 in El Paso County, Colo., and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He had a parole hearing scheduled in March, according to Colorado Department of Corrections records. He is listed in state records as a fugitive inmate and authorities say he is wanted on three robbery warrants.


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  • Sfa_iv_max50

    revCCBeasley

    about 1 year ago

    2944 Comments

    Doing his job and a Brother to be missed. RIP

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    rickysteamboat6

    about 2 years ago

    88 Comments

    R.I.P. Brother. The world and the thin blue line have lost a good man.

  • 4a43d2b5_max50

    we5150

    almost 3 years ago

    202 Comments

    Rest in Peace Brother

  • Police_blue_max50

    schu23

    about 3 years ago

    2 Comments

    R.I.P. Sgt. Chapin....

  • Photo_max50

    dcrump

    about 3 years ago

    192 Comments

    R.I.P. our law enforcement brother!

  • Sppd_max50

    Shoebox

    about 3 years ago

    18 Comments

    RIP brother, and I hope that POS gets the deatch penalty

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50

    rhood

    about 3 years ago

    23592 Comments

    Rest In Peace Sgt. James Chapin, may the good Lord grant comfort to his family and friends. The dirtbag that did this should be fast tracked to the death chamber and dumped in a landfill with the rest of the garbage.

  • Mike11_max50

    mlmarino

    about 3 years ago

    48 Comments

    Local, State and Federal Authorities pulled together and did a great job in the investigation after this Brother Officer was killed by this animal. They have arrested his mother, father, sister and brother in-law. Article on the chattanoogan.com lays it all out. He walked away from the halfway house he was in, and began an armed robbery spree and the entire family assisted with everything. Thanks to all the agencies for all the hard work done in bringing some justice for this fallen brother. This thing should have never been walking the streets.
    RIP Sarge......You've served Honorably and made the ultimate sacrifice in Protecting your community........

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    akviz909

    about 3 years ago

    22 Comments

    Rest in peace brother. Prayers to his family, friends and co-workers.

  • 212940_max50

    jcb413

    about 3 years ago

    60 Comments

    R.I.P

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    MP247

    about 3 years ago

    332 Comments

    Rest in Peace Sgt Chapin

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    BForJuvCor

    about 3 years ago

    846 Comments

    "The suspect, Jesse R. Mathews, was also shot and remained hospitalized Sunday with no information available on his condition."...why the hell do we try and save these A**Holes? Why is it a criminal can get out after 8 years when given a 20 year sentence. More and more violent offenders are being released early because of overcrowding and budget problems and who suffers...the innocent hard working people who live in and protect our communities. Soon the public will have enough of the bull that is going on and "take care" of those who mean harm to their hometowns. R.I.P Sgt. Chapin

  • Edit2_max50

    Tassin_2164

    about 3 years ago

    120 Comments

    R.I.P. Bro

  • Hpim0324_max50

    boritico

    about 3 years ago

    928 Comments

    R.I.P.B.

  • 12235_sq90_max50

    chiefkcr

    about 3 years ago

    3620 Comments

    RIP My Brother.GOD be with you and yours.

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