KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A man is dead after a confrontation with officers Tuesday evening in South Knox County.
Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk says the 911 center received a call from the 2200 block of Hay Meadow Trail around 5:26 p.m. that a neighbor, who police have identified as Albert Gagnier, 74, had fired a gun at her multiple times. A second person then called and said the same neighbor was firing a weapon in the air. The second caller said the neighbor was armed with both a pistol and a shotgun.
When Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived, there was a confrontation with Gagnier that police say resulted in additional gunfire from the suspect. The officers fired their weapons, striking Gagnier.
A cell phone video shared with WATE 6 On Your Side by an anonymous viewer shows Gagnier walking down the street and shooting into the air. He then points his gun, apparently at deputies, who then fire at him several times. WATE 6 On Your Side has edited the video to not show the man actually being shot.
Gagnier was taken to UT Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
The deputies involved have been placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of the investigation. This is standard procedure in cases like these.
Investigators are reviewing videos from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and videos submitted by witnesses. Interviews are also underway. Family members say Gagnier had been showing unusual behavior lately and investigators will be working with the medical examiner to determine if this was a factor.
People were not be able to enter or leave the subdivision until around 10:30 p.m. Monday, including homeowners.
Donna Reed lives a couple houses down from Albert Gagnier and his wife. She says Gagnier suffered from several medical issues such as a tumor and PTSD.
“Mr. Al was a wonderful person, he would tell you when you talked to him that because of his medical history that he would not remember you or to be offended or hurt.”
She says he was a man of faith and loved God.
“From what I understand he was a preacher,” said Reed. “He quit preaching because of this issue, but, regardless he would never fail to make sure he asked you if you knew the Lord.
Neighbors will hold a vigil Wednesday night in Gagnier’s memory.
Reed says remembering him is the right thing to do.
“I think Mr. Al would want this,” said reed. “Being in his right mind I think he would have wanted this, that we give all the glory to the Lord and not focus on all the bad that happened yesterday.”