When Oak Ridge police officer Nathan Gibson fired three rounds at 36-year-old Isaiah Ramirez October 8, 2018, the shooting was justified. So said Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark this morning.
In a report submitted to Oak Ridge Police Chief Robin Smith, Clark wrote, “While gunshots were the immediate cause of [Ramirez’s] death, it was Ramirez’s own decisions and conduct that were responsible for his death. No criminal charges would be legal or appropriate against Officer Nathan Gibson.” Police are permitted to use deadly force when their lives are threatened.
Records show Ramirez had several outstanding warrants and a history of running from police; he is said to have told a friend he knew police were after him and “did not want to be arrested because he believed he would be going to prison.”
Oak Ridge police had been searching for the electrician for several days. When they found him, Ramirez fled, engaging police in pursuit. At one point he swerved at an officer, according to the TBI investigation. Then, when Gibson tried to block Ramirez’s passage, Ramirez accelerated toward him; Gibson fired three shots through the windshield; two of them struck Ramirez; the third lodged in the steering wheel. Ramirez continued driving, ultimately striking Gibson in the leg and causing him to stumble backward.
After being struck by another police cruiser, Ramirez’s vehicle came to a stop after hitting a parked transit bus.
Despite first aid administered by police at the scene, Ramirez later died at a hospital. The autopsy showed several prescription medications, including opioids, in Ramirez’s blood at the time of the shooting.
Gibson, who was diagnosed with a possible torn meniscus, was treated and released.