Tennessee man with mental health issues shot dead by policeman

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 30, 2015 4:04 PM

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) - A Tennessee man with a history of mental health issues was shot and killed on Thursday after he pointed a gun at officers trying to arrest him, Nashville authorities said.

John Acree, 53, was shot after pointing a pistol at police at his home, Nashville Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron said. Acree had previously broken into a neighbor's house and believed both the neighbor and the government had him under surveillance, Aaron said.

Police had a warrant to arrest Acree for failure to appear in court on a felony burglary charge. Knowing Acree's mental health issues, four officers were dispatched to serve the warrant - two going to the front door and two to the back, Aaron said.

When officers knocked on the front door and asked him to come outside, Acree went toward the back door pointing a pistol at police, Aaron said.

Aaron said officers feared the man was going to shoot at them, and William Wright, a four-year veteran, shot and killed Acree.

Wright is on administrative leave while the incident is investigated. Both Wright and Acree are white, unlike high-profile fatal police shootings in Missouri and South Carolina in which the officers were white and the men killed were black.

Police are investigating whether Acree fired his pistol.

Aaron said the burglary charge stemmed from an incident in January when Acree entered a neighbor’s house in the upper-class Nashville neighborhood while she was showering and accused her of having him under surveillance. Acree then took photographs inside her home, Aaron said.

David Darst, who is renovating a home nearby, said he was waiting for workmen to arrive when he heard “twenty-something shots” at Acree’s house next door.

Darst called Acree “a very secluded guy,” who had a history of verbal altercations with neighbors.

(Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Eric Walsh)