Deputy Dustin Patrick remains on paid administrative leave while the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation continues its investigation.
Tuesday’s report was released by the Regional Forensic Center for the Office of the Medical Examiner.
According to initial TBI reports filed following the mid-afternoon shooting, Armetta Foster, 30, was traveling with her two small children from Florida to Kentucky for a funeral. She abandoned the vehicle she had been driving and began walking on Interstate 75.
A 911 call sent the Bradley County deputy to the area for a welfare check. Upon the officer’s arrival, Foster reportedly produced a knife and slashed the deputy, then continued to do so as she commandeered his patrol car. Shots were fired and according to reports, Foster was struck a number of times before she drove the vehicle away, eventually driving off the interstate and crashing into a residential area off Harrison Pike. The driver’s side door of the patrol car had six visible bullet holes and was documented in a Banner photo the day of the incident.
According to Kristen Helm, TBI’s public information officer, the vehicle Foster had abandoned had been stolen. During the initial stage of the investigation, officials determined Foster and her 6- and 10-year-old children were from Casselberry, Fla.
Media reports indicated information from the Regional Forensic Center said Foster was struck by seven or eight bullets, entering her body on the left side and striking her liver and other organs. The report also noted one bullet may have entered her arm and then her body.
“A deputy generally knows when he or she is dispatched to a domestic situation call, that there could possibly be danger involved,” according to Bob Gault, Bradley County Sheriff’s Office public information officer. “Dispatchers ask the caller for information regarding any violence which may have occurred prior to the call or any potential for future violence and if weapons have been used or are present. [In Saturday’s situation] there was no indication or perceived threat during the initial call. It was simply a welfare check regarding a woman walking on the interstate with two small children.”
“Deputy Patrick responded to see if he could help this person and the situation escalated when she produced a knife,” Gault’s report continued. “We don’t know at this point why she produced a knife and began slashing at the deputy, wounding him.”
Sheriff Jim Ruth issued a statement May 24 concerning the deadly encounter.
“As you are aware, a tragic incident occurred on 1-75 in Bradley County on Saturday, May 21, 2011,” Ruth cited. “The initial investigation and report indicates that what should have been a simple welfare check turned violent when a woman, identified as Armetta Foster, age 30, began slashing at deputy Dustin Patrick with a knife.”
The sheriff added, “The initial investigation indicates that Deputy Patrick complied with the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office Use of Deadly Force Policies which are based on Tennessee State Laws related to deadly force.”
Ruth continued, “Hopefully, the autopsy will lend information that might explain why she attacked Deputy Patrick, other than the fact that she had been driving a stolen vehicle. This incident is a tragedy and I understand people’s interest in it, and their concerns.”