Man shot by UT officer was carrying "toy" gun

A Mid-South man shot and killed by a UT Health Science Center officer was carrying a toy gun.

UT students have the jitters after last night's shooting and the school is on heightened alert.

This was the scene of the shooting.

The shooting happened just before 10:00 Thursday night in the MedPlex parking lot across from the UT Health Science Center.

A UT Police Officer stopped a man for questioning. The man pulled out what the officer thought was a gun.

The officer shot him and he later died at the MED.

Students are uneasy about what happened. Chonna Larry was in a study group nearby at the time of the shooting.

"It's really hard to believe that that would happen so close to school. We were all studying. That could have been any of us walking down the street," says Larry.

And then, a twist in the case. Memphis Police learned the suspect's so-called gun wasn't a real weapon at all.

It was a toy gun.

The university says its officers are highly trained.

"Our campus police officers are required to be trained with the same level of certification as Memphis Police Department and so they adhere to those same high standards," says University of Tennessee spokesperson Sheila Champlin."

The University says the last time something like this happened was in the 1980's when a robbery suspect shot a UT police officer.

Champlin adds, "we do believe the officer acted responsibly and that he followed all accepted guidelines and procedures."

Memphis Police say the man was suspected of robbing the MED cafeteria shortly before the shooting.

Police have still not released the name of the suspect. Classes were not in session at the time of the shooting.

The officer involved is on routine leave with pay pending an investigation by both the UT Police and Memphis Police.


to email Kontji Anthony.