Friday, June 26, 2009

Officer remains critical, awaits additional surgeries

WKRN Chanel 2 NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Metro police Sgt. Mark Chesnut remains in critical condition after he was shot multiple times on Interstate 40 East in Bellevue during a traffic stop Thursday afternoon. Sgt. Chesnut, 44, underwent surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to repair major internal organ damage and was expected to undergo more surgeries Friday. His family was flown via helicopter to the Nashville hospital shortly after the 1:20 p.m. shooting Thursday and is now by his side. Vanderbilt officials said while Chesnut remains in critical condition on life support, they are hopeful he will make a full recovery. "He suffered a life-threatening injury, he's on the ventilator, he's on life support but we're all very hopeful that ultimately he'll return home to his family and ultimately return to work," said Dr. John Morris, director of the Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care at Vanderbilt. "I don't think we'd use the term 'in the clear' at this juncture," he continued. "Officer Chesnut is in critical condition having suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen and to the right arm." Co-workers are praying for their colleague and said the shooting is a harsh reminder of just how dangerous police work can be. "Just reiterates that nothing's routine," Metro police Lt. Melvin Brown told News 2. "You don't want to be complacent but I must say that sometimes no matter how much caution and care that you take, you can get hurt." "Just wanted to tell him way to go," Sgt. Phil Vincion said. "I understand he did a really good job from everyone's description and really held himself together and got the information out there despite his very dire circumstances that enabled us to capture the suspects relatively quickly." "We're here for you, we're praying for you," Sgt. Melissa Schultz said. "Anything you need, you've got it." The Suspects Mississippi prison escapee Joseph Jackson and accomplice Courtney Logan, of Louisville, are in custody, charged in the shooting. Jackson, 29, admitted to shooting Chesnut because he didn't want to go back to jail. He is charged with attempted murder, stealing a Mississippi correction officer's gun, unlawful gun possession by a convicted felon and being a fugitive from justice. Logan, 25, is charged with attempted murder and unlawful gun possession by a convicted felon. Both men were booked into the Metro jail overnight on $3 million bond each. Jackson, who was serving a life-sentence for armed robbery and aggravated assault charges, escaped during an optometrist appointment in Greenwood, Mississippi Thursday morning. Police said Logan aided his escape. Sgt. Mark Chesnut Sgt. Mark Chesnut is 44-years-old and a 22-year veteran of the Metro Police Department. He was previously a supervisor in the Youth Services Department and now works for the Interstate Interdiction Unit. Officers in the Interstate Interdiction Unit are uniformed officers that travel in unmarked cars on the interstate, looking for traffic violators. Chesnut has a wife and one child. The family has set up a Twitter account,, to update the community on his condition.

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