Print

News >> Browse Articles >> Officer Down News

-80

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.


-80
  • Photo_user_blank_big

    michaelem54

    over 3 years ago

    34 Comments

    rest in peace

  • Windows_photo_gallery_wallpaper_max50

    bpdtrafficcop

    over 3 years ago

    380 Comments

    Go rest on high on the mountain brother, for we have the watch now. Our prayers go out to you, your family and fellow officers.

  • Uniphone1_max50

    batman2944

    over 3 years ago

    738 Comments

    Rest in Peace Sarge, and God Bless! Get well soon Officer Johnston....I'm praying for you.

    "Stay in the Fight"

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    k9goodman

    over 3 years ago

    110 Comments

    Rest in Peace Brother.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Clive

    over 3 years ago

    12 Comments

    May you Rest in Peace Brother Tim. My heart goes out to your family, friends and fellow LEO's.I pray that you all with be able to find some Sense in this tragedy. Your murderer was sentenced but some mindless do gooder found the grace to parole him so soon into his jail term. These scumbags should be left to rot in prison so innocent law abiding citizens can live in a safe and peaceful enviroment. From a brother LEO in the Sussex England

  • Pict0015_max50

    DK_K9

    over 3 years ago

    106 Comments

    You died a heros death Brother, and Your path from here will be a glorious one. Gods peace and comfort to those your leave behind untill you shall meet again.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    OlympicJoy

    over 3 years ago

    374 Comments

    Rest in peace Officer Chapin. My thoughts and prayers are with your loved ones.

  • Hpqscan0002_max50

    jdynomit

    over 3 years ago

    212 Comments

    Rest in Peace Sgt. Chapin, may the lord grant you serinity and internal peace.Our prayers are with your family,friends and your brother and sister officers.I hope the creep lives and spents the rest of his misirable life behind bars in pain and agony.

  • Abys2_max50

    AuntieAbby03

    over 3 years ago

    506 Comments

    Rest In Peace!!

  • Tigerstripe_002_max50

    Daysend

    over 3 years ago

    902 Comments

    R.I.P. Thank you for your service good sir.

  • Lion_cub__masai_mara__kenya_max50

    krakin_13

    over 3 years ago

    470 Comments

    The Media is already blaming this on the gun laws... THE MAN WAS A FELON... HE WASN'T ALLOWED TO HAVE A GUN ANYWAY! HE WASN'T ALLOWED TO ROB A PAWN SHOP! HE IS A CRIMINAL AND MORE LAWS WON'T STOP HIM!

    but it seems a couple of .45's did...

  • 041105-o-9999g-012_max50

    Rscheiterle

    over 3 years ago

    1822 Comments

    Rest in Peace Officer Chapin...my prayers for your family and department.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Novesh

    over 3 years ago

    4 Comments

    Thank you for your service and commitment, brother - your sacrifice will not go unremembered.

  • Iphone_067_max50

    mslizette

    over 3 years ago

    6 Comments

    As a police officer, you put your life on the line everyday. Danger is expected, but not welcomed. Rest in peace Officer Chapin. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  • Decepticons_max50

    BPD425

    over 3 years ago

    62 Comments

    Rest in Peace Sarge. May the good Lord bless you, your family and your department. Rest easy your watch is complete and you are relieved. WE will continue the Watch.

PoliceLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a criminal justice degree program. Use PoliceLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.

Recent Activity

Ba_old_glory_max30
Jonas submitted the article: "Mom accused of mixing methadone with baby formula", 2 minutes ago.
Ba_old_glory_max30
Jonas submitted the article: "Surveillance Video Captures Naked Thieves As They Steal B...", 3 minutes ago.
Ba_old_glory_max30
Jonas submitted the article: "No decision on California death penalty appeal", 4 minutes ago.
Ba_old_glory_max30
Jonas submitted the article: "Political Canvassers Caught On Camera Getting Frisky In F...", 6 minutes ago.
Ba_old_glory_max30
Jonas submitted the article: "Authorities: Escondido police Officer Laura Perez killed ...", 8 minutes ago.