Sullivan County grand jury says police shootings justified

Rain Smith • Sep 10, 2019 at 7:30 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Kingsport, Sullivan County and Bristol police officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing in a trio of recent shootings, two of which left men dead.

According to the most recent Sullivan County grand jury, which ended service in August, guidelines for use of force were followed in all of the incidents. Specifics on each police shooting were outlined in the grand jury's final report.

Assault suspect charges with knife

On April 17, Kingsport police were called to a domestic disturbance in the 100 block of Mullins Street. The suspect in the disturbance, Andrew C. Witt, 27, reportedly ignored commands to drop a knife, then "charged at an officer with the knife raised."

Two officers responded by firing on Witt. He was transported to a hospital for treatment of his wounds. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was called in to probe the incident.

When their findings were presented to the grand jury in May, Witt was indicted on two counts of aggravated assault and one count of domestic assault. After release from medical care, he was booked into jail. He remains held on $25,000 bond.

Wanted man drags deputy with SUV

Terry R. Frost, 32, had six active warrants, including one for felony reckless endangerment. On June 10, personnel with the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office attempted to locate him at a residence on Pennsylvania Road.

According to the TBI, when deputies approached the home Frost ran into an overgrown area. Police soon spotted Frost on nearby Diana Avenue in an SUV driven by a female. She complied with orders and exited the vehicle, but Frost reportedly hopped behind the wheel. The TBI says that while surrounded by officers, Frost accelerated and a deputy reached inside to pull the wheel, preventing him from hitting the others.

While being dragged by the SUV, the deputy opened fire and his leg was run over. Frost was transported to the hospital with five gunshot wounds and pronounced dead shortly after arrival. A subsequent autopsy revealed that Frost had meth in his system at the time of the incident.

'Suicide by cop'

On June 7, Bristol, Tennessee, police officers went to Crown Circle to evict a man. According to the grand jury report, Jason Nash was going through a divorce and was court ordered to depart the residence.

Nash allegedly ignored commands from officers. The grand jury reports that a body camera recorded Nash igniting a struggle, during which the officer fired his weapon. Nash was fatally shot.

According to an acquaintance interviewed by police, the pair had been doing drugs and Nash had been talking about committing "suicide by cop." An autopsy found meth and buprenorphine in his system.