Hendersonville, TN -- The tragic death of an innocent young man in Tennessee shows yet again why calling the cops can be the most dangerous thing you can do.
Steven Dodd, 22, fell off of a bridge after being shot in the leg by Master Patrol Officer Hunter Raymond, who claimed that Dodd pulled a gun from his pocket. But Dodd’s family says there is no way he would have had a gun in his possession.
Late on the night of August 25th, Dodd left his home in an agitated state and began walking away. A resident saw him standing on the Indian Lake Overpass and called 9-1-1. Officer Raymond approached Dodd, who was standing on the barrier at the edge of the bridge, and began talking with him.
According to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) spokesman Josh Devine, Dodd “indicated he had a gun in his pocket.” After Raymond had called for backup and three more officers arrived on the scene, Dodd allegedly pulled the gun from his pocket during the conversation. Raymond shot Dodd in the leg and he fell off the overpass onto Vietnam Veterans Boulevard. He was later pronounced dead at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Devine said a pellet gun was found later at the scene which they believe was in Dodd’s possession.
The family says police reports do not add up and their son could not have had a weapon.
“He did not leave with any weapons. We do not have any weapons. He does not use weapons,” said Missy Dodd, Steven’s mother.
“They don’t own weapons. There was not a single weapon in the house. The only thing that resembles a weapon is an Airsoft pistol that is still in the house right now. So as far as anyone knows, when he walked off this lawn last night, he was carrying nothing that would even resemble a weapon,” said uncle Stephen Hendrix.
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We are all too familiar with the false stories that cops will say to justify their actions or avoid punishment for wrongdoing. Will all four of the officers attest to the same story? Will dashcam video emerge that tells a different story?
TBI is “investigating all aspects of the event,” according to Devine, and will submit findings to Sumner County's 18th Judicial District Attorney General's Office. The office will decide if the police actions were justified or further investigation is warranted.
Uncle Stephen Hendrix expressed skepticism to local media about the police narrative.
“Police officers are trained to shoot to kill when somebody pulls a weapon on them. There were four police officers on the scene. You’re telling me that someone pulled a gun on four police officers and the suspect was shot in the leg? That doesn’t add up.”
Meanwhile, Steven Dodd’s family will mourn the loss of their son, who would very likely be alive if not for the actions of a Hendersonville cop.
Steven, who graduated from Station Camp High School in 2012, was well-loved by family and friends, being described as quiet, hard-working, quick-witted, caring and loyal.
“He loved goofing off, especially around the holidays. We liked to come up with and take funny pictures. He had a great sense of humor and a very kind heart. I’ll always remember that about him,” said aunt Korie Hendrix.
Steven’s father wants to know the truth about what happened to his son.
“You would’ve loved him if you ever had a chance to know him. This is so shocking for us, the turn of events from 24 hours ago to where we’re here now. We have to bury our son. And I want to know what happened last night.”