MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – A man is dead following a Shelby County deputy-involved shooting Monday morning, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is now in Memphis in charge of the case.
Investigators said 49-year-old James Kirkwood was a suspect in a sexual assault when he stabbed a deputy. The deputy shot Kirkwood and Kirkwood later died.
Local 24 News also learned Kirkwood was a registered sex offender with a lengthy rap sheet involving sex crimes.
The deputy, who authorities are not releasing the name of yet, was treated and released from the hospital.
Investigators aren’t sure whether he had a body camera rolling during the encounter or how many times he fired. Eyewitness video and reaction, including one witness who said he heard at least seven shots, are also helping explain what happened.
After that deputy-involved shooting, law enforcement saturated downtown Memphis. Around 10:00 a.m., investigators said the deputy responded to a woman who said she’d been sexually assaulted not far from 201 Poplar.
“The suspect led the officer on a brief foot pursuit, during which reports on the scene indicate the suspect pulled a knife and stabbed the deputy in the arm,” TBI spokesperson Keli McAlister said. “The officer then fired at the man, striking him.”
McAlister said that suspect, James Kirkwood, later died.
Records showed Kirkwood was a registered sex offender following a 1993 rape. Shelby County court records also showed Kirkwood with a history of violations of the sex offender registry.
After Monday morning’s shooting, TBI began gathering all relevant evidence and witness statements.
“Our agents are very good at their job and they will look at everything the suspect did and the individual did in determining exactly what happened,” McAlister said.
“I just couldn’t believe my eyes,” Jonathan Rosmond said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Minutes before law enforcement swarmed downtown Memphis, Rosmond said he saw and heard the entire exchange between the deputy and Kirkwood.
“(The deputy) tased him and then when they maced him, he held his eyes like, I head pop, pop, pop,” Rosmond said.
As is standard procedure, that Shelby County deputy who fired his service weapon Monday morning was placed on administrative leave.
The TBI will update and report its findings to Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich, who will decide whether the deputy will face any changes.