Nashville, TN – A Nashville security guard who became a police officer after stopping an active shooter in 2018 has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the gunman’s death.
Nathan Glass, 26, was working at The Pharmacy restaurant as a security guard on Oct. 2, 2018, when a gunfight broke out near the intersection of McFerrin Avenue and West Eastland Avenue, the Tennessean reported.
At approximately 6:30 p.m., 25-year-old DeAngelo Knox was traveling through the intersection in a Ford Mustang when a Chevrolet Impala pulled up alongside him, according to Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) reports.
Knox and the unknown occupants of the Impala began shooting at one another, at which point Knox turned into the oncoming lane and crashed into a parked vehicle, the Tennessean reported.
Witnesses said dozens of rounds were fired during the gun battle.
Knox bailed out of his car after the crash and took off running towards Chicamauga Avenue.
Glass said he spotted Knox running towards him with his gun raised.
According to former Assistant District Attorney Pamela Anderson, Knox pointed the weapon in the direction of the “restaurant/patio area” where Glass was working, the Associated Press reported.
Glass said he fired his own weapon in defense of himself and the restaurant patrons – a position that Anderson also endorsed.
“Mr. Glass’s observations about Mr. Knox’s actions may or may not be correct, but the video does corroborate that Mr. Glass had a reasonable belief that his life and the lives of others were at risk,” Anderson later said, according to the Tennessean.
A round fired by Glass struck Knox just behind his right ear.
An autopsy revealed he died from a combination of blunt force trauma to the chest and head, as well as the gunshot wound, the Tennessean reported.
Anderson determined in February of 2019 that there was insufficient evidence to dispute Glass’ self-defense claim and declined to pursue criminal charges against him.
Glass had been admitted to the MNPD Academy prior to the shooting, but was not allowed to attend the training until after the district attorney’s office cleared him of wrongdoing, the Tennessean reported.
He subsequently attended and graduated from the police academy in August of 2019, and began working as a sworn officer.
Although he did not face any discipline since joining the department, Officer Glass was abruptly decommissioned by MNPD Interim Police Chief John Drake in late October after he discovered that prosecutors were reexamining the case against him, the Tennessean reported.
“All cases are subject to review, unless jeopardy has attached or the statute of limitations has run,” Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk’s spokesperson, Steve Hayslip, said of the review.
Officer Glass was indicted on a second-degree murder charge on Nov. 12, according to the Tennessean.
He was released from the custody of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 12 after posting a $50,000 bond.
Officer Glass faces between 15 and 25 years in prison without parole if convicted.
His attorney, David Raybin, said that his client maintains he acted in defense of himself and the restaurant patrons.
“The District Attorney’s Office had earlier conducted an extensive review of this case and concluded that ‘the video does corroborate that Mr. Glass had a reasonable belief that his life and the lives of others were at risk,” Raybin told the Tennessean. “We agree with that assessment.”
“We will enter a plea of not guilty by reason of self-defense and the defense of the many patrons in the restaurant where he was working as a security guard,” the attorney added.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Nashville President Sheryl Guinn praised Funk’s decision to charge Officer Glass with murder.
“The shooting was unjustifiable,” Guinn determined, according to the Associated Press. “He had no reason to be in that situation at all. Nathan Glass was in a restaurant and all he needed to do was secure the restaurant and call the police.”
“They hired a killer and put him on the streets,” she told the Tennessean after the charge was announced. “We are very thankful that Mr. Glenn Funk…has corrected the horrible denial of prosecution.”
Anderson, the attorney who declined to file charges against Officer Glass last year, was no longer working for the district attorney’s office as of Nov. 2, according to the Tennessean.
The reason behind her departure is unknown.
Knox’s mother, Angela Dotson-Heard, said she’s been fighting for “justice” for her son for the past two years.
“It’s been a nightmare. It’s been too, too long,” said Dotson-Heard, who has also filed a $20 million lawsuit against the owners of The Pharmacy, Officer Glass, and the security company he was working for at the time of the fatal shooting.
Dotson-Heard told WZTV that Glass should have actually “opened the door” to let her armed son run into the restaurant, but that he “shot him like an animal” instead.
“Something didn’t seem right. I wanted justice,” she declared. “I’ve been off work, I’ve been in counseling, I’ve been medicated…I feel like I can heal now.”
The lawsuit claimed that Knox did not pose any threat to Glass or the restaurant patrons, and alleged that Glass was “reckless and negligent in his killing,” according to the Tennessean.
“I just fought for what I thought was right. I knew something was wrong and I was not giving up,” Dotson-Heard said during a press conference on Thursday. “They took my whole son away.”
Officer Glass remains decommissioned while the Office of Professional Accountability reviews the NAACP’s claims that he made racist remarks on Facebook, WZTV reported.
The posts that outraged the NAACP included photos of him and other individuals with firearms, as well as posts criticizing former President Barack Obama.
“He had all of those racist, gun-loving posts on social media,” Knox’s family’s attorney, Joy Kimbrough, ranted to WZTV.
“People in the police department need to be held accountable and I don’t mean some writeup either,” Kimbrough opined.