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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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  • Greg2005_max50

    djlojak

    about 3 years ago

    200 Comments

    To the wounded suspect who lies in the hospital, heres to praying for lead poisoning!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    RIP brother your family and fellow officers are in my thoughts.......

  • Christmas_2010_038_max50

    Mongo1

    about 3 years ago

    342 Comments

    Rest in peace Sgt. Chaplin, taken before your time, doing what you love. The good shepard.

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50_max50

    aussie4

    about 3 years ago

    5328 Comments

    God Bless Leo Chapin and his family.
    Bump what jprs89 said, times 100.
    Burn that pos quickly, please.

  • 2-8-07_002_max50

    jprs89

    about 3 years ago

    516 Comments

    “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.”

    this is my kind of pastor!

  • Img_0490_max50

    matsnap

    about 3 years ago

    482 Comments

    Rest in Peace Brother! My prayers go out to the family, friends, and co-workers.

  • Image_max50

    HD221

    about 3 years ago

    1178 Comments

    RIP Sgt Tim Chapin you are a hero and hero's never die. My thoughts and prayers are with your family, friends, your brothers and sisters and your co-workers in their time of loss as I know your death is a great loss and you will be missed.

  • Dhs_max50

    WACollector

    about 3 years ago

    764 Comments

    Rest In Peace, Brother.

  • Wings_max50

    copper5817

    about 3 years ago

    892 Comments

    Thank you sir for performing your duty with honor and courage. God bless you and your family. Rest in peace. You stand relieved. We have the watch.

  • Steve_mcqueen_max50

    ilegworldchamp

    about 3 years ago

    8966 Comments

    Go with God my Brother and may the good Lord watch over your Family .

  • Garita2_max50

    Inxorte

    about 3 years ago

    734 Comments

    RIP my hero brother

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    captainbud

    about 3 years ago

    420 Comments

    May you rest in peace, my brother. May God continue to comfort your family and friends.

  • Yosemite_06-02-09_043_max50

    sgtstriker

    about 3 years ago

    42 Comments

    Build more prisons.... Do away with Parole..... I'm sick of hearing about the heinous crimes committed by parolee's....
    Rest In Peace Sgt. "Tim" God bless and take care of all loved ones, friends, and fellow law enforcement personnel.

  • Ralphie_max50

    rafaelmorales

    about 3 years ago

    3000 Comments

    RIP BOSS!!!!!!!!

  • White_shirt_max50

    uncledennis1

    about 3 years ago

    23138 Comments

    R.I.P Brother. The parole board dropped the ball on this one.

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