Nashville, TN – The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) released bodycam and dashcam video on Saturday from the fatal officer-involved shooting of Nika Holbert a day earlier (video below).
MNPD Spokesman Don Aaron told reporters that the incident began at about 9:30 a.m. on March 12 when MNPD Officer Josh Baker stopped a vehicle in front of the Dollar General, the Tennessean reported.
The owner of the black Chevy Camaro – Demond Buchanan – had six active drug warrants, WTVF reported.
Officer Baker quickly realized that the driver wasn’t Buchanan, but bodycam video showed he found drugs in the car.
The video showed he radioed twice for backup and then attempted to take the 31-year-old Holbert into custody.
Holbert didn’t take any of Officer Baker’s commands seriously and continued reaching around inside the vehicle before she finally got out of the car.
Officer Baker instructed Holbert to go to the back of the car but she didn’t, and instead wandered around a bit and called her mother to come pick her up, the video showed.
She reached back into the car several times, ignoring Officer Baker’s commands.
Bodycam video showed Officer Baker found a small bag of marijuana and a powdery residue in the driver’s bag and went to put her in handcuffs.
Holbert grabbed her purse and made a run for it, the video showed.
She ran from the officer screaming and he chased her around the Camaro.
The video showed that as she ran, Holbert kept a phone to her ear on her shoulder and never dropped the cigarette clutched between her lips.
She jumped back behind the wheel of the Camaro but Officer Baker stopped her from shutting the door and deployed his Taser at her.
Holbert screamed from the shock of the Taser but continued to resist and reach around inside her vehicle, the video showed.
Even as Officer Baker put the Taser against her upper arms and deployed it again, Holbert was reaching for a gun inside her vehicle.
When Officer Baker saw the weapon, the video showed he yelled at her to put it down as he backed away.
“Ma’am, put the gun down, put the gun down,” he yelled as he drew his own gun.
Holbert fired her gun and the office returned fire.
The suspect then tossed her gun on the ground.
Then video showed Holbert fled the scene in the Camaro.
She wrecked in a ditch shortly thereafter and was transported to the hospital.
Officer Baker was shot once, Holbert was shot twice, WTVF reported.
Holbert died at the hospital.
The officer was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center Trauma Center in critical condition, but remained hospitalized in stable condition after surgery, WTVF reported.
“I’ve reviewed the body cam footage, he appeared to do everything he could to try to de-escalate the situation, including the use of Taser, including trying not to use his firearm,” MNPD Chief John Drake told reporters on Saturday morning.
Chief Drake said Officer Baker just releasing Holbert because she wasn’t the car’s owner wasn’t an option because she had drugs and didn’t have a driver’s license, WTVF reported.
“There’s nothing else he could have done better other than maybe leave the scene and let her go away, and obviously, he couldn’t do that,” the police chief said.
Holbert’s mother told WTVF that she disagreed with the chief’s assessment and was hiring an attorney.
She said she wasn’t surprised that her daughter pulled a gun on the officer.
“He was trying to kill her with that Taser and she was trying to protect herself,” Holbert’s mother told WTVF.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content and Obscene Language: