Officer cleared in deadly Oak Ridge shooting investigation

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- An investigation into a deadly officer-involved shooting in Oak Ridge determined Officer Nathan Gibson did have a reasonable basis to believe the suspect who was killed posed a legitimate threat to the officer's safety, according to a report from the District Attorney's Office said.

In October 2018, a sergeant and five additional officers arrived at the address of Isaiah Ramirez with intent to arrest him on several outstanding warrants. Ramirez faced charges of Aggravated Burglary, Domestic Assault, and Violation of Probation among others.

Officials said that when officers arrived at the location on Cumberland View Drive, officers Gibson and Merritt along with their K-9, approached Ramirez as he stood outside near a Nissan pick-up truck. When the officers approached, they ordered Ramirez to "stop." Instead, he entered the truck and started the engine. Officers approached the truck and used their batons to break the windows. Ramirez drove away and chase ensued.

The other ORPD officers reportedly attempted to stop Ramirez by blocking the road with their vehicles, but he refused to stop, driving over a curb and nearly striking an officer. Officer Scott drew his pistol and ordered Ramirez to stop, but did not fire. The officers then engaged in a high-speed chase through a neighborhood and onto Emory Valley Road where he sped through several red lights. As an officer attempted to pass Ramirez, he swerved toward the police vehicle to prevent it from passing, however, the officer was successful and able to force Ramirez into a parking lot outside Anderson County sessions court. Officers used their vehicles to block Ramirez.

As Officer Gibson exited his police vehicle using his body to prevent Ramirez from diving away, the report said he pointed his weapon at Ramirez and ordered him to stop. Ramirez began driving forward toward Officer Gibson, who then fired his weapon three times. Officer Gibson's leg was then struck by the front bumper of the truck.

Another officer used her vehicle to stop the truck from hitting Officer Gibson by driving into the side of the truck -- it then struck a bus in the parking lot.

The officers immediately removed Ramirez from the truck and began rendering first aid. He had apparent gunshot wounds and was transported to the hospital by emergency responders. Ramirez was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Following the incident, officer Gibson became the center of an investigation conducted by the district attorney's office.

The results of a toxicology report show that Isaiah Ramirez had Oxycodone, Alprazolam, Amphetamine and Buprenorphine in his system. He had been shot twice in the arm and chest which was determined to be the cause of death.

The District Attorney's report cites the Oak Ridge Police Department's code of conduct as being consistent with Officer Gibson's actions. On lethal force the code states "...Use of force applications are based upon objective reasonableness as the standard application for force, which takes into account the following: The totality of the circumstances from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene at the moment that force was used without 20/20 hindsight in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving."

The report concludes that Gibson was entitled to use lethal force and will not face any criminal charges or other reprimands.