NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Robertson County inmate was shot and killed after he reportedly stabbed a deputy with a screwdriver inside a Vanderbilt University medical clinic.
Metro police say the inmate, identified as Rodney Cole, was at the Thompson Lane clinic at 100 Oaks for a routine check-up for a medical condition.
Cole, a convicted bank robber, was reportedly waiting in an examination room with two deputies, Josh Wiley and Tomisha Jones, when he asked to use the bathroom.
According to authorities, Deputy Wiley accompanied him to the bathroom when Deputy Jones heard him calling for help.
Police say Jones opened the bathroom and saw Cole on top of the deputy, stabbing him with a long screw driver.
A press release states Deputy Jones reported she fired her weapon at the inmate, and that during the ensuing struggle, which continued into the hallway, Cole was briefly in possession of her weapon.
Jones reportedly told Metro police she then regained control of her weapon when both deputies reportedly fired at Cole, who was hit at least once time and died in the hallway.
Deputy Wiley, who was also hit by gunfire, was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he is in critical condition. Deputy Jones was not injured.
Detectives are working to determine how Cole obtained the screw driver.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center released a statement after the shooting saying employees and visitors were asked to shelter in place out of an abundance of caution as law enforcement swept the entire building.
“The safety and well-being of our patients and employees is always our first concern,” added John Howser, Chief Communications Officer.
Howser told News 2 the clinic will be open as usual on Thursday with no extra security since this was an isolated incident. Patients whose appointments were disrupted today are being rescheduled.
News 2 spoke with Tony Wilkes, Chief of Corrections with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, to see how his department could change its procedures.
“Whenever there’s a critical incident that involves any type of corrections, we go back and we evaluate our own processes,” he explained.
When inmates and deputies venture outside their normal holding area, Wilkes says members of the force must be hyper vigilant in their actions.
“When you’re transporting outside the correctional institution, you have no control. The environment is very different,” he added. “Those kind of dangers don’t discriminate, regardless what environment you’re in.”
Metro police say Cole was serving a 15-year sentence for bank robbery that began in 2013. He has previous convictions for aggravated robbery, robbery, burglary, and theft.
Robertson County Sheriff Holt released a statement Thursday morning, which reads:
“In law enforcement, we train for the worst, but pray it never happens. Yesterday, an inmate viciously and violently attacked one of our deputies. Unfortunately, my deputies had to respond in the way no law enforcement wants to – with deadly force. One of the deputies suffered multiple gunshot wounds, and the other deputy has suffered the traumatic stress of the incident. The support from our local community has been tremendous, and the assistance from our fellow law enforcement partners including Metro Nashville Police Department and Vanderbilt University Police Department has been incredible and humbling. The care provided to Josh Wiley and his family by the Metro emergency medical staff and the doctors and nurses from Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been outstanding. Deputy Wiley is still in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit after surgery yesterday and is facing major surgery today. We ask that you continue to keep Deputy Wiley and his family in your prayers. Please also keep Deputy Tomisha Jones and her family in your prayers as she deals with the traumatic stress of this incident.”