An unarmed burglary suspect was shot and killed by a Metro police officer Friday after pulling a shiny metal object out of his pocket while the two were fighting. It was an iPod.
Reginald Dewayne Wallace, 40, died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center after he was shot by Officer Joe Shelton at 1026 Villa Place, a home in the gentrifying Edgehill neighborhood near Music Row.
It was the second time in 24 hours that a suspect was shot by a Metro officer. The suspect in that first shooting is in stable condition at Vanderbilt.
Police say Wallace broke into a home at 1037 14th Ave. S. around 10:45 a.m. Friday morning. The resident was home, heard a loud crash and called police.
Wallace ran from the scene when police showed up. Officers chased him, but lost sight of him on Villa Place. Shelton, a 21-year police veteran, released his dog, Memphis, to find Wallace, who was hiding under a deck at the Villa Place home.
The dog bit Wallace and didn’t let go, even when the man crawled out from under the deck and tried to climb over a privacy fence.
While Wallace was trying to climb the fence, Shelton grabbed him and the two began fighting. Police said Wallace ignored repeated warnings and instead reached for a silver object in his pocket.
Shelton believed he was in danger and shot Wallace, according to police.
Second fatal shooting by officer
It’s the second time the officer has been involved in a fatal shooting. In 2007, Shelton shot and killed an 18-year-old man who was robbing a Mapco station on Dickerson Pike. In that case the man pointed a gun at Shelton but did not fire it, according to Tennessean reports. The officer was cleared in that case.
Shelton is a decorated officer — he was recognized in 2007 for helping capture a convicted murderer who opened fire on Officer Danita Marsh while she was on domestic violence call.
Police said Shelton is on routine administrative assignment while the case is investigated.
Wallace, who lived in North Nashville, had been convicted of burglary three times. He was on probation for a November 2009 conviction and had been arrested 31 times on 24 charges including resisting arrest.
iPod was stolen
Police recovered the stolen iPod on the ground near Wallace; a 52-inch flat-screen TV taken during the burglary was recovered in a nearby shed.
Next-door neighbor Matt Kovar was home when the shooting took place but said he didn’t know what happened until after police arrived.
“I was up in my room and I heard what sounded like banging on my door, so I got up to see what was going on,” he said. “I looked out my back window and saw cop cars. I thought it was a car accident.”
It’s the second time in two days Metro police have shot a suspect during a scuffle.
At about 5:30 Thursday evening, Officer Michael Hunnicutt shot Pedro Valencia Barragan, 31, after Barragan stabbed Officer John Timm. The officers were answering a domestic violence call.
Timm was released from the hospital Friday. Barragan faces two charges of attempted murder.