(PPN) – Rodney James Hess, 38, of New Orleans was sitting in his parked sports utility vehicle on the off-ramp of a Tennessee Highway perpendicular to traffic when he was shot Thursday afternoon. Hess was streaming on Facebook live before he was fatally shot and killed by sheriff deputies.
Relatives of Hess are asking the witnesses to come forward. Crockett County deputies reported that Hess refused their commands and made “erratic statements” once they approached the SUV.
“During the escalation of events, at least one Crockett County deputy fired his service weapon through the front windshield of the vehicle driven by Hess, striking him,” DeVine said. “At this time, we do not believe Hess used a firearm in connection to this incident.”
Hess’ video shows officers standing near the car and he can be heard saying, “I would like the higher commands to come out.”
The video image became jerky and captured sounds of a commotion and a loud, sharp sound, followed by a man screaming. The video showed the interior of a vehicle and passing scenery until a crashing sound occurs.
Rodney Hess SUV after the wreck, following the shooting
Hess drove his SUV a distance after being shot and wrecked his vehicle. The video does not show the officers shooting.
The video ended with an image of broken glass and the the sound of a woman’s voice, apparently coming from a phone.
Hess family attorney Don Rouzan said Hess was asking to speak with a ranking officer when he used the phrase “higher commands.” Hess was not acting aggressively or raising his voice, Rouzan said.
“At the time there was no threat,” Rouzan said. “He was asking for a supervising officer and they opened fire.”
This is not the first cop shooting incident caught live on Facebook. Philando Castile fiancee live streamed police killing him. That cop plead not-guilty to second-degree manslaughter charges.