“Officer Down!” triggers scramble to aid Chattanooga cop in distress

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WDEF) – What quietly started as an investigation into the discovery of a stolen car quickly escalated into a physical altercation between a police officer and a suspect.

"Officer down! Officer down!" Those were the words repeatedly heard over a police scanner when a plain clothes Chattanooga cop attempted to arrest Christopher Clay, 37.

"He dropped his radio and asked me to grab it. I grabbed the radio and then had to call 911 because I didn’t know how to operate the radio," said Buddy Shirk who witnessed the altercation.

According to Shirk, it all started when an officer called him on the phone to let him know his car was found inside the Park Place Apartment complex parking lot. Shirk recently reported the vehicle stolen.

He told WDEF that right after he arrived, he noticed the officer approaching Clay to ask him a question.

"The next thing I know, they’re in an alteration and the guy starts running away. The officer finally got him and repeatedly asked him to turn over but the guy would not cooperate," Shirk said.

It was during the scuffle when the officer reportedly dropped his radio. Police told WDEF that because the officer could not answer his radio, other officers had to scramble to his position for back-up.

"He needed help. The guy was not cooperating and I didn’t know what to do so I called 911. The other officers got here and they got here fast," Shirk said.

Shirk also told WDEF that from his vantage point, it looked like Clay was reaching for something inside his pockets while tussling with the officer.

Clay is no stranger to trouble. According to court documents, he was arrested last year for aggravated domestic assault. But his case was dismissed.

{Additional pictures of arrest located in Slideshow}

Categories: Crime, Local News

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