Officials: Dispatcher didn’t warn officers suspect had gun before Nashville cop was shot

Shotgun reportedly used by Paul Hardesty (Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)
Shotgun reportedly used by Paul Hardesty (Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Metro police officer continues to recover Wednesday after being shot by a dangerous man in a Nashville motel room.

It happened Tuesday morning at the Cumberland Inn on West Trinity Lane when wanted fugitive Paul Hardesty allegedly shot Officer Terrance McBride with a sawed-off shotgun.

Hardesty then turned the gun on himself inside the motel room’s bathroom.

When officers were dispatched to the motel, they knew a possible robbery suspect was inside room No. 104.

Officer Terrance McBride (Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)
Officer Terrance McBride (Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)

What officers didn’t know was that Hardesty was armed with a gun, something a dispatcher reportedly suspected but didn’t broadcast to the responding officers.

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According to the director of the Emergency Communications Center (ECC), Michele Donegan, the dispatcher took a call from a citizen who reported the suspect was at the inn. The caller gave emergency personnel Hardesty’s name, explained he had an outstanding warrant, and that he may have committed a robbery.

The caller reportedly also advised that Hardesty was seen with a weapon just an hour before.

Donegan told News 2 the information about that weapon was not included in the text.

That dispatcher is now under investigation.

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

“This was a critical error and that information should have been included. We have opened an active investigation regarding this call taker and we take this type of error very seriously,” she explained.

News 2 spoke with the Metro Nashville Police Department who said Director Donegan made them aware late Tuesday.

In a statement to News 2, the department said, “… And we share her strong concern that critical information was not relayed to the officers on the motel call. While the jobs of ECC personnel are stressful, this matter serves as an important reminder that it is essential for officers to have as much pertinent detail as possible when responding to calls.”

The dispatcher’s name hasn’t been released, but News 2 learned he was not as work Wednesday.