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Estill Springs Police traffic stop turns to pursuit; shots fired

On Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022 at approximately 12:40 am, Estill Springs Police Department Officer Clint Grant conducted a traffic stop for a traffic violation on Spring Creek Road. Officer Grant arrested the driver, Tony Eugene Cannon Jr., for a Lincoln County arrest warrant.

Officer Grant smelled the odor of marijuana originating from inside the vehicle and began removing the remaining occupants to conduct a probable cause search of the vehicle. Officer Grant removed the front seat passenger, Tony Eugene Thomas/Cannon Sr., from the vehicle. ESPD Officer Ashley Chambers observed him throw a pistol. He then fled from the traffic stop on foot.

The rear passenger of the vehicle, Dennis Evans, exited the vehicle and entered the driver seat of the vehicle. He drove the vehicle away from the traffic stop, and Officer Grant pursued him. The pursuit entered a residential trailer park. Dennis Evans fired five shots at Officer Grant’s patrol vehicle and the patrol vehicle was struck two times. Dennis Evans then drove the vehicle into the Elk River. He fled from the crash scene on foot.

Personnel from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Winchester Police Department, Decherd Police Department, Cowan Police Department, Arnold Air Force Base Police, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and Franklin County Emergency Management Agency converged to locate the two suspects at large. THP mobilized their helicopter to assist in the search.

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Tony Eugene Thomas/Cannon Sr. was taken into custody on Spring Creek Road by ESPD, CPD, and Arnold AFB Police.

Interdepartmental teams were formed and mobilized on foot to search for Dennis Evans. Using their FLIR camera, the THP aviation crew located Dennis Evans in a wooded area. The pilots guided the teams on the ground to Evans, where he was taken into custody.

FCSO personnel investigated the shooting scene and recovered five 5.56mm casings. FCSO also recovered and processed the vehicle. Approximately two ounces of a substance believed to be crack cocaine, approximately eight ounces of a substance believed to be marijuana, a second pistol, and cash were recovered from the vehicle.

The gun that is believed to have been used by Dennis Evans to shoot at Officer Grant was recovered from the Elk River by Franklin County EMA.

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The pistol thrown by Tony Eugene Thomas/Cannon Sr. was recovered from the initial traffic stop location.

The charges for each suspect are as follows:

Tony Eugene Cannon Jr.

  • Out-of-County warrant
  • Unlawful Carrying or Possession of a Weapon

Tony Eugene Thomas/Cannon Sr.

  • Unlawful Carrying or Possession of a Weapon
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Evading Arrest
  • Public Intoxication

Dennis Evans

  • Possession of a Firearm During a Dangerous Felony
  • Unlawful Carrying or Possession of a Weapon
  • Aggravated Assault X2
  • Assault Against a First Responder
  • Reckless Endangerment
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Public Intoxication

Charges are pending on all three suspects for the suspected drugs recovered from the vehicle. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

ESPD Chief Matt Baker and FCSO Sheriff Tim Fuller would like to personally thank every agency that assisted in this joint effort. The cooperation and teamwork between the agencies and the community allowed these three dangerous individuals to be captured. We would also like to thank the citizens who provided tips that assisted in capturing Tony Eugene Thomas/Cannon Sr.

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