An unarmed man was shot to death by Tennessee cops — after they claim he tried to run him over while acting unstable — recorded the shooting live on Facebook.
Rodney James Hess, 36, streamed two videos Thursday as he sat in his parked SUV, which cops said was blocking an off-ramp in Alamo, Tenn. He was shot after police claim they became worried he’d mow them down with his car.
Hess was transported to a hospital where he later died. Cops responded to calls around 2:15 Thursday afternoon that a truck was parked sideways on a highway exit.
The first video captures mostly before cops arrive. The 17-minute recording is relatively quiet and shows the car moving before the first Crockett County deputy arrives.
Family of mentally ill Ky. man shot by police demanding answers
Hess was acting “erratic” by the time more deputies arrived at the scene, said Josh DeVine, spokesman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Hess allegedly attempted to run deputies over twice during this unstable period, he added.
“At one point, preliminary information indicates Hess tried to use his vehicle, his SUV, to strike the officers at least twice,” DeVine told reporters Thursday night.
In the second video — which lasts just more than a minute — deputies are seen surrounding Hess’ car.
Hess' fiance told a local newspaper he was suffering from bipolar disorder. (VIA FACEBOOK)
Repeatedly, Hess is heard asking to speak with “the higher commands.”
“I would like the higher commands to come out,” he says in the video.
That’s when his car is seen moving in reverse. A deputy at the driver’s window waves something in his hand.
Then gun shots are heard, followed by Hess screaming in pain. The car is then seen moving before coming to a halt.
DeVine said a deputy shot Hess through his windshield as authorities became concerned he’d run them over.
“The information suggests that multiple officers were at risk of injury when this situation escalated,” he said.
Hess then drove his car “a short distance away” before crashing into a ravine, DeVine said.
Hess was shot by police after deputies surrounded his car as seen on his Facebook Live stream.
The slain man was not armed at the time, DeVine said, but added cops considered his car a weapon.
The videos don’t show Hess trying to run police over, but it appears there’s a time gap between the two recordings.
In an email to the Daily News, DeVine said TBI is aware of the recordings, but have yet to confirm their validity at this point.
Hess had a New Orleans address, and authorities initially weren’t sure what he was doing in Tennessee.
But relatives told NBC News he moved to Tennessee from Louisiana because of Hurricane Katrina.
His fiancé told the Jackson Sun that Hess suffered from bipolar disorder.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will hand over its findings to a district attorney general, who will then determine if cops acted improperly.