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TBI investigating fatal officer-involved shooting

J.H. Osborne • Sep 3, 2019 at 4:12 PM


BLUFF CITY — Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agents are reviewing the Tuesday shooting death of a man by local law enforcement officers after a pursuit ended in Bluff City.

The man killed was identified by TBI Public Information Officer Leslie Earhart as Attilio A. Gilmartin, 30, Bluff City.

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Earhart said that at about 1 p.m., Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office deputies initiated a traffic stop of Gilmartin on Highway 75 near Tri Cities Airport. He was wanted on outstanding warrants, but Earhart said she did not have information about the nature of those warrants.

“The driver failed to stop and led officers on pursuit and onto several secondary roads before turning right onto Highway 394 near Blountville,” Earhart said.

“At some point during the pursuit, Gilmartin fired shots at deputies from the moving vehicle and continued to travel on Highway 394 toward Bluff City.”

Earhart said Gilmartin then turned onto White Top Road and continued to flee from deputies until he reached the 900 block of Silver Grove Road.

“Deputies ordered him out of the vehicle. At some point after exiting the vehicle, he reportedly grabbed a gun and fired shots at officers. Several Sullivan County deputies along with one officer from the Bluff City Police Department returned fire, striking Gilmartin and killing him,” Earhart said. “He was pronounced dead at the scene.”

No officers were injured. It is the policy of the TBI not to release the names of officers involved in shootings during an investigation.

Earhart said the scene of the shooting would likely be an active crime scene for several hours, and Silver Grove Road will remained closed during this time. The TBI Violent Crime Response Team, with forensic scientists from the Knoxville crime lab, arrived on the scene at about 4:30 p.m.

“They will be processing the scene, collecting any relevant evidence throughout the night,” Earhart said.

There have been at least 33 officer-involved shootings investigated by the TBI this year, according to the agency’s website. Those shootings include three in Sullivan County (including Tuesday’s), one in Kingsport, one in Bristol, and one in Hawkins County.


PUBLISHED EARLIER Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are responding to an officer-involved shooting that occurred in the 900 block of Silver Grove Road in Bluff City.

Limited information is available. However, the Times News will provide updates on the story as they become available. The TBI is expected to provide more details soon.

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