A man suspected of shoplifting resorted to using his “vehicle as a weapon” when fleeing the scene of a crime, intentionally running over the deputies who were chasing him. But before he could run them over a second time, one of the officers gunned him down in the parking lot.
According to the Huffington Post, 32-year-old Amos Frerichs from Vonore, Tennessee, was already wanted by the police for a prior assault and theft warrants. He had an extensive criminal background that included charges in at least three Tennessee counties.
Continuing this apparent streak, Amos Frerichs attempted to shoplift at a Knoxville sporting goods store at around 8:30 p.m. on Friday night, not knowing there was a shoplifting task force of officers stationed there. They approached Amos Frerichs to confront him about his theft, but the suspect took off running as soon as he realized what was happening. A sheriff’s deputy and a reserve officer from the the Knox County Sheriff’s Office pursued Amos Frerichs into the parking lot, commanding the suspect to stop.
Frerichs ignored the officer’s orders and “aggressively resisted arrest,” even after the police attempted to use their tasers on him. The shoplifter made it to his vehicle, climbed in, and ran over both of the deputies who were chasing him. Both officers were knocked to the ground, but one of them got back to his feet, opened fire, and killed Frerichs inside his vehicle.
“One of the deputies was able to get back onto his feet and fired his service weapon as [Amos Frerichs] was attempting to hit the deputy again with his vehicle,” said Knoxville police spokesman Darrell DeBusk. “[The officer] discharged his weapon in defense of his life and the life of his partner,”
Both police officers had to be treated at the hospital for multiple injuries sustained from the vehicle, but none were life-threatening. They have been identified as Deputy Evan Rogers and Reserve Officer Geziel Dos Santos. DeBusk did not reveal with officer shot Amos Frerichs or how many shots were fired.
While it is unclear if the suspect had some kind of firearm or weapon with him at the time of the chase, DeBusk insists that “he used his vehicle as a weapon,” in a way that endangered the lives of the lawmen.
Authorities believe that Amos Frerichs resorted to such desperate measures because of his numerous arrest warrants.
“We believe Frerichs fought with the deputies due to multiple outstanding warrants on file for his arrest, including two assault and two theft warrants in Knox County.”
Despite the fact that the death of Amos Frerichs seems like an obvious instance of self-defense, Knoxville police are conducting an internal investigation to determine if the shooting was lawful.
The step-father of Amos Frerichs was contacted by the Associated Press, but declined to comment.
“Right now is not a good time,” he said. “We’re still trying to wrap our heads around it ourselves. We don’t have all the details.”
Officer Evan Rogers has worked for the Knox County sheriff’s office since 2012, which happens to be the same year that his partner Geziel Dos Santos started as a reserve officer.
Do you think Amos Frerichs got what was coming to him?
[Photo via the Knox County Sheriff’s Office]