An African-American Louisiana father Facebook live-streamed his own shooting death at the hands of a police officer during a traffic stop on Thursday while his fiancee watched on in horror.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation told NBC News, thirty-six-year-old Rodney James Hess, was acting erratically and attempted to hit law enforcement officers with his car “at least twice” before he was shot to death by police just after two in the afternoon.
According to a statement from the agency, “During the escalation of events,” at least one Crockett County sheriff’s deputy fired through the windshield of the vehicle striking the suspect. Hess was then airlifted to a hospital where he later died due to his injuries, NBC News reports.
“Though we are aware such a video exists, we cannot confirm its authenticity. As with anything that might potentially be evidence, we will examine it to determine if it has probative benefit,” Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Public Information Officer Josh DeVine said, NBC News reports.
The video was broadcasted on Facebook Live near Alamo, Tennessee, and Hess is heard saying that he would like to speak to “the higher commands” before exiting his vehicle. Hess then appears to move around and his shot through his windshield.
Johnisha Provost, who is Hess’s fiancee, told the Commercial Appeal on Friday from thier home, that Hess’s request to speak to “the higher command” was a sign that he was requesting help from the officer.
“He was not on a suicide mission,” she said. “He was not trying to harm anybody. He was asking them for help and they shot him down.”
“He couldn’t get his mind together. That’s why he asked for a higher command,” she said. “I always told him, “Babe, if you are ever in a situation where you need help, ask the person in charge for the higher command to help you,” and that’s what he kept saying.”
“I found out as it was happening,” Provost said. “I was at work and my aunt called me and was like, “Rodney is in trouble.” He was on Facebook and I logged on and I watched it.”
(Written & Edited by Bart Charles Begley)