Metro officer terminated after firing gun during Madison manhunt

Courtesy: Metro Police Department

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Metro police officer has been terminated after authorities say he fired his gun during a manhunt in Madison last week.

According to a release, probationary police Officer Matthew Nelms fired at a SUV that was driven by a suspected burglar as the man began quickly backing out of a yard off Nesbitt Lane.

At the time, Nelms reported he fired his weapon in self-defense and that he felt the moving SUV put him in imminent danger.

After a lengthy review of the incident, police said Nelms’ statements do not corroborate that.

During the police department’s review, it was discovered that Nelms reportedly fired his service pistol as many as five times.

Nelms was informed on Friday that his assertion of firing in self-defense did not “seem credible or plausible,” and appeared to be in violation of the department’s use of force policy.

Chief Anderson said that Nelms’ performance during his probationary work test period was not acceptable due to his use of deadly force, which was found to be inconsistent with policy and his extensive academy training.

Policy states that officers “not discharge their firearm at or from a moving vehicle unless absolutely necessary to protect the life of the employee or others.”

The policy also states that “employees should not knowingly place themselves in a position where they would be in jeopardy of being struck by a suspect vehicle or knowingly stand and/or step into the path of a vehicle, creating circumstances where the use of deadly force may be necessary.”

Nelms was terminated from his position Monday after a meeting with Chief Anderson.

His field training officer, Joe Pennington, also fired at the SUV after the rookie began shooting, police said. Pennington said he began shooting after hearing gunfire and not seeing Nelms, who was obstructed from his view by the vehicle.

He was decommissioned late Monday and assigned to desk duty pending the continuing administrative investigation.

Nelms graduated from the Metro Nashville Police Department Academy in June after undergoing more than five months of training.

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