Grand Jury: No indictment for officer who shot, killed Somerville man

Grand Jury: No indictment for officer who shot, killed Somerville man

SOMERVILLE, TN (WMC) - The Somerville police officer who shot and killed a man on June 14 will not face charges.

According to District Attorney Mike Dunavant, officer Austin Howard was not indicted by a Fayette County grand jury on Monday after the jury reviewed all the evidence.

Howard shot and killed Michael Morris, 54, when police responded to his home for a domestic violence situation.

Investigators said the Grand Jury was presented with the results of the TBI investigation and, after reviewing the evidence, agreed with the TBI and DA's office that the use of deadly force by Howard was justified, proper, and necessary.

According to the TBI investigation, officers were sent to Morris' home at 5050 Woodbridge Road. The 54-year-old was intoxicated, had a knife, and was threatening to kill himself.

Investigators said Morris came out of the home when officers arrived and confronted them with a knife. After refusing to comply with orders to drop the knife, he threatened to kill the officers and continued to come toward them.

Officers used two taser cartridges on Morris that were not effective. After continuing to come toward the officer and refusing to comply with commands to stop and put the knife down, Howard fired three shots at Morris.

"There is no question that Officer Howard acted legally, appropriately, and just as he was trained to do when confronted with such a dangerous situation," said District Attorney Mike Dunavant.

As a result of the Fayette County grand jury's finding of justification in this matter, the Office of the District Attorney is closing its file in this case, and will request that the TBI do the same upon the completion and receipt of the final autopsy report.

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