A Collierville police officer who fatally shot a homeowner armed with a handgun last year will face no criminal charges, said Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich.
Officers were called to the residence of David Hoal, 59, on June 3, 2019, on Valleywood Cove where his wife said he was distraught, threatening suicide and armed with a handgun. When officers arrived, he was in the backyard, with his wife a short distance away.
Officers said he had his finger on the trigger and that he was holding the gun in “a low ready position,” halfway between level to the ground and pointed at the ground. When he ignored commands to drop the gun, one officer fired his rifle, striking Hoal in the chest and killing him.
The officer said he feared for the safety of Hoal’s wife and for that of the other officers.
“Officers are not required to wait until they or others are shot at by an armed suspect,” said Dist. Atty. Weirich. “In this case, Mrs. Hoal was ‘in close proximity’ to her husband and could have been shot in a split second if he had chosen to do so. Instead, the officer made an on-the-spot decision to fire first when Hoal refused to drop his weapon.”
She said that after considering all of the circumstances and all available defenses, there is no criminal charge that can be brought against the officer involved in this shooting for which the facts would support a reasonable likelihood of conviction.
The decision does not consider or address law-enforcement policies, procedures, disciplinary action or training requirements, nor does it address civil liability. The decision considers only state criminal law.
According to procedure, Dist. Atty. Weirich based her decision on an investigative report compiled by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The report was reviewed by the DA’s Officer Involved Death Review Team that includes Dist. Atty. Weirich and five experienced homicide prosecutors.
That report – and a PowerPoint summary by DA Weirich – now is posted at https://www.scdag.com/officer-involved-deaths. Redactions have been made in accordance with Tennessee law and privacy standards.