A Marysville, Tennessee, police officer became the 78th officer to die this year in the line of duty when he was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call. He is the 37th officer to be killed by hostile gunfire this year.
Marysville police officers had responded earlier in the day on Thursday to a domestic call but found no probable cause to arrest any suspect at the time. Later in the day, police received a call that the man in the home was now armed. Office Kenny Moats, 32, responded to the car and parked about 70 feet away from the home address if the reported domestic violence incident. The alleged domestic disturbance was between Brian Keith Stalans and his father, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
Officer Moats, assigned to the 5th Judicial District Drug Task Force, was in the area with another task force deputy who also went to the scene to back up Moats. They responded quickly and waited for other officers to arrive before approaching the suspect. Moats had already retrieved the father and taken him to a safe place before gunfire erupted.
Moats and the sheriff’s deputy were taking cover behind their vehicle with Stalans allegedly opened fire striking Moats in the neck, the local newspaper reported. Moats was wearing a bullet proof vest but the bullet struck him above the line of protection. Stalans reportedly opened fire from inside his father’s garage.
Officers had arrived on scene by this time and returned fire. The suspect surrendered. He was arrested and transported to the Blount County jail. No information about Stalan’s weapon was revealed in reports.
Officer Moat was escorted by other police officers as his body was transported to a local hospital. Doctors at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville declared the officer to be dead from his neck wound.
The nine-year police veteran leaves behind a grieving widow and three children. The Marysville Daily Times newspaper had previously named the popular police officer as their “Readers’ Choice Police Officer” in 2011. Marysville Police Chief Tony Crisp called him a “stellar” officer.
“We know this tragedy will bring our community closer together and that will be a lasting legacy of Officer Moats,” Chief Crisp said in a written statement. “We just ask that our community continue to pray for the family of Officer Moats and for the men and women in uniform as we go through this trying time.”
As of now, 38 law enforcement officers have been shot and killed this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. He is the fifth Tennessee officer to die in the line of duty this year.