‘No charges to be filed against any officers involved in fatal Austin-East shooting,’ says DA Allen following release of body cam footage

Body cam footage of the fatal officer-involved Austin-East shooting will be released, according to DA Charme Allen.
Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 3:20 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 21, 2021 at 7:50 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Knoxville District Attorney General Charme Allen releases body camera footage of the fatal officer-involved Austin-East shooting that left 17-year-old Anthony Thompson Jr. dead and a Knoxville Police Department officer hospitalized with a gunshot wound.

Knox Co. DA Press Conference

GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING WATCH: Charme Allen speaks amid calls for release of Austin-East body cam footage.

Posted by WVLT on Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The press conference comes amid calls for release of the body camera footage of the shooting after details of the investigation concluded officer Willson was not shot by Thompson Jr., as the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation initially reported.

DA Allen said in a press conference Wednesday that body cam footage will be released following a complete investigation. Allen says the family of Anthony Thompson Jr. has seen the footage.

“I have just spent four hours with this family and I will tell you that was a painful long agonizing four hours for that family, but we talked about the death of their 17-year-old son, and one thing that family asked me not to do was release those tapes today, but because I had made a promise that once I completed the file and once I talked to the family I would release the tapes,” said DA Charme Allen.

Allen says we all want the truth of what happened to Anthony Thompson Jr., justice to be served and all the kids at Austin-East high school to be safe.

Officials shared evidence concerning the officer-involved shooting. After reviewing the video evidence, DA Allen said she believes it was reasonable for Officer Clabough to feel his and the other officers’ lives were in danger.

The bullets that struck both Anthony Thompson Jr. and Officer Willson came from Officer Clabough’s gun, Allen said.

The autopsy shows that the bullet entered Thompson’s upper left body, traveled through both lungs and through the bottom of his heart. Because of the severity of the injury, no matter how soon aid was provided, Thompson would not have survived, said Allen.

“This was a devastating, non-recovering, life-ending injury”, the medical examiner said of Thompson Jr.’s death.

No charges will be filed against any of the officers involved in the shooting of Anthony Thompson Jr, said Allen.

When questioned about potential unrest in the community following the decision not to charge officers, Allen said, “At some point, we have to stop protesting against each other and work together for the greater good.”

Allen said the death of five Austin-East students over the last three months, “weighs extremely heavily,” on her.

“Clearly somewhere, something’s wrong,” Allen said.

DA Charme Allen said the following timeline explaining what happened during the officer-involved shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School on Monday, April 12:

  • 12:30 p.m. at Austin-East Magnet High School, Anthony Thompson Jr. was first reported entering into a domestic incident with another student.
  • 12:48 p.m., DA Charme Allen explains Anthony Thompson Jr. got into a second domestic assault at the high school.
  • 1:16 p.m., Regina Perkins, mother of the domestic assault victim, text messages Anthony Thompson Jr. concerning her daughter.
  • 1:59 p.m. Regina Perkins makes a 911 call about Anthony Thompson Jr. At the same time, school security footage showed Thompson Jr. sitting in an Austin-East stairwell.
  • 2:15 p.m. KPD officer Clabough responds to Regina Perkins’s residence following the 911 call, speaks to the domestic assault victim. Regina Perkins explains to the KPD officer Anthony Thompson Jr. has threatened her daughter with a gun before.
  • Officer Clabough calls Security Resource Officer Willson regarding more information into Anthony Thompson Jr. Officer Willson confirms to Officer Clabough there was a domestic assault incident at the school.
  • 2:23 p.m. there is a text message exchange between Regina Perkins and Anthony Thompson Jr. DA Allen says Anthony never leaves the restroom after this time.
  • 2:51 p.m. Anthony Thompson Jr. receives another text message from Regina Perkins
  • 2:53 p.m. Body camera video is shown of Officer Baldwin responding to Austin-East on a domestic assault complaint. DA Allen says officers were not aware that Thompson Jr. had a gun when they arrived at the school to arrest Thompson Jr. Officer Willson advised the officer that he had witnessed the domestic dispute between the students and had been monitoring school cameras to locate Thompson Jr.
  • 3:00 p.m. Officer Baldwin, Officer Cash, Officer Clabough and Officer Willson are in a classroom with Lieutenant Cash looking at security video searching for Anthony Thompson Jr. Officers remained in the office for nearly 10 minutes looking at school cameras in an attempt to locate Thompson Jr.
  • SSO Officer Scott approached the officers and notified them of a bathroom Thompson Jr. was known to hang out in. The officers, alongside SSO Officer Scott, approach a school bathroom. Officer Baldwin, Officer Cash, Officer Clabough and Officer Willson enter the bathroom and make contact with Thompson Jr.
  • 3:11 p.m. DA Charme Allen releases body cam footage of all four officers. The officers made contact with Thompson Jr. and a scuffle soon ensued. Officers attempted to take a gun out of Thompson Jr.’s possession. One bullet was fired from Thompson’s gun. It went through a trash can.
  • Officer Clabough was the one who ultimately fired the shots that killed Anthony Thompson Jr. He was the only officer to fire his weapon. Allen said the entire incident transpired in 11 seconds. Officer Willson was hit by gunfire from Officer Clabough’s gun. Willson was dragged out of the bathroom.
  • Allen said it took four minutes for aid to be administered to Thompson Jr. by a school nurse. Allen said because of the severity of the injury, no matter how soon aid was provided, Thompson would not have survived.

You can watch Officer Clabough’s full body cam footage here:

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