Cpl. James Deese and Patrolman Jesse Richardson will receive the department’s Medal of Distinguished Service during Thursday’s meeting of the Elizabethton City Council. This medal may be awarded to officers “who, in the line of duty, distinguish themselves by the performance of an act of courage.”
The incident took place around 2 a.m. on Sept. 16, and started in the 700 block of East Elk Avenue. Richardson stopped to check on several people standing near a parked car. While Richardson spoke to the individuals, a police report said one man started running.
Richardson chased him and radioed that he was in foot pursuit. The man he was chasing was later identified as Michael Gibble. Deese responded to the radio alert by driving to the area to assist Richardson.
According to the police department narrative for the award, Deese arrived in time to see Gibble fall in a parking lot on Academy Street. He was able to approach him. Deese began to place the man under arrest but the man struggled with Deese and produced a pistol. The man began firing.
Deese sought cover under a nearby parked vehicle and returned fire when he saw the man point his weapon at Richardson. Richardson was approaching the area to assist Deese and saw Gibble shoot at Deese. The two officers then fired on Gibble. After that, they were able to take him into custody and render first aid, but he died a short time later.
Elizabethton Police Chief Jason Shaw is pleased with the work of the two officers: “I am very proud of Corporal Deese and Patrolman Richardson. They were out working, doing what we are supposed to do, and in the course of that work, they found themselves in a situation that involved using their courage and training. I am ever thankful that they came out on the winning end and went home to their family unharmed after that shift. They continue to work to serve and protect our community.”