DA: Naked woman charged officer with knife


The District Attorney's office ruled a November homicide that occurred as a result of an officer-involved shooting was justifiable.

Sierra McCauley, 23, died after suffering a gunshot wound during a standoff with Knoxville police in November 2018. The officer, James Gadd, was placed on administrative leave after the incident.

"I conclude that the...officer's actions therein were subjectively and objectively justified...I am closing this investigation as a justifiable homicide," the release from the DA's office said.

According to that release, in-car camera footage and transcripts from a neighbor's 911 call "adds further insight."

The release states that occurred at a home on Compton Street on Nov. 26 at around 1 p.m. A woman and alleged friend of McCauley, Audrey Wanca, called 911 saying that McCauley "was suicidal and had attacked her with a knife."

The release says that 911 calls claim McCauley had doused herself with lighter fluid and was attempting to set herself on fire. When the officers arrived, the report claims they confronted McCauley and "made demands" for her to drop the knife.

"In front of multiple witnesses, the subject raised the knife and charged Ofc. Gadd, and he discharged his firearm once in her abdomen."

According to the report, McCauley had "numerous self-inflicted slice/stab wounds to her person...multiple witnesses saw her inflicting her own wounds and making statements that she wanted to die."

However, "the subject had never been suicidal, and had a stable, normal affect with no detectable mental health issues in the weeks and days leading to her death," witnesses claimed.

In conclusion, the report said, "the shooting was justified as self-defense, and the homicide investigation should be closed."


A suspect who wielded a knife and stabbed an individual died after being shot by police Monday.

23-year-old Sierra McCauley was transported to UT Medical Center where she died from her injuries sustained after suffering a gunshot wound during a standoff with police.

Officer James Gadd, who is a 23-year veteran of the KPD, was not injured and has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard operating procedure within the KPD.


The Knoxville Police Department said an officer involved shooting took place in South Knoxville at the intersection of Haywood Avenue and Compton Street.

According to a release from police, the 911 center received a call from a home located at 3400 Compton Street at about 1:18 p.m. The call indicated a woman was cutting herself. Emergency operators received a call from a neighbor a few minutes after that saying that a naked woman was in the street cutting herself and had cut someone else.

The victim of the cutting was transported to a hospital from non-life threatening injuries.

When officers arrived on scene, they found the woman and observed that she had a military-style knife. Interaction between the officers and the suspect escalated, according to KPD. This escalation resulted in an officer having to discharge his firearm in self-defense.

The woman was transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

KPD said the officer was not injured and will be placed on administrative leave as is protocol for an officer involved shooting. The Knox County Sheriff's Office will be investigating the incident.