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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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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    mbrick

    over 3 years ago

    4 Comments

    RIP.... prayers for your family and all that knew you.

  • French_avatar_max50

    fletc

    over 3 years ago

    182 Comments

    RIP brother. My heart goes out to the family.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    “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.”

    A pastor who understands the call of Romans 13! My kind of pastor indeed.
    Folks let's keep Tim's family and his colleagues in prayer.

  • Benelli_m2a_max50

    sgtmac_46

    over 3 years ago

    70 Comments

    He should have ran OVER him with his car!

  • Kudro1-1_max50

    Roblewis

    over 3 years ago

    7802 Comments

    Rest in peace my brother.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    my prayers go out to all involved. god speed sgt. as an officer in tn, i am very sad tonight. it is never a good thing but really strikes a cord when it happens so close to home. stay safe fellow officers

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    over 3 years ago

    11190 Comments

    Rest in peace, Sgt. Chapin.

  • Surfs_up_max50

    Kahunacop

    over 3 years ago

    48 Comments

    Rip my fellow Officer!

  • Sheriff_3_max50

    sheriff950

    over 3 years ago

    5360 Comments

    Rest in peace my friend....

  • Images_1__max50

    FutureLawMan83

    over 3 years ago

    560 Comments

    RIP brother.

  • 101_max50

    gman3858

    over 3 years ago

    318 Comments

    Rest in Peace Brother.

  • 1393794_10151798561878138_392793313_n_max50

    Blueblood1974

    over 3 years ago

    5204 Comments

    TO COLORADO INVESTIGATOR: JOHNSTON IS OK. I SAW HIM AT HOSPITAL AND HE WAS RELEASED AT SAME DAY. THANKS FOR YOU SUPPORT FROM COLORADO.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    I submitted news about Tim's death over the weekend and we are in prayer for Tim's family/colleagues. This particular story says nothing about the wounded officer (Lorin Johnston) who very much needs our prayers and support. Praise God, Tim knew Christ as Savior and as such is now with the Lord.
    Det. Sgt. M.C. Williams
    Chaplain/Director, www.TheCenturionLawEnforcementMinistry.org
    FCPO Nat. VP

  • M_9667fc2c687f23a8152f2bc98d03777d_max50

    TXMEDICGRL

    over 3 years ago

    92 Comments

    May he rest in peace. Praying for his family and community.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Buster10

    over 3 years ago

    258 Comments

    RIP BROTHER< ROT IN HELL POS

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