A Circuit Court order to reduce the Franklin County jail inmate population resulted in unintended consequences when a suspect was released and later involved in a police chase where he was shot and killed.
Larry Millraney, 39, of Estill Springs was fatally shot by Franklin County law enforcement officers on March 20 following a police pursuit at about 11 p.m. that ended near the intersection of Highway 130 and Old Estill Springs Road in Winchester, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. No officers were injured during the incident.
Authorities said the suspect earlier in the day had allegedly fired shots into his own Estill Springs residence. He was arrested at 4:40 p.m. and was released on $1,500 bond.
Authorities said Millraney went to a relative’s Estill Springs residence after being released and picked up two guns. He had walked out of the home and fired shots at a neighbor.
Numerous county departments responded to the incident, including officers with the Estill Springs Police Department, and a vehicle pursuit ensued, officials said.
A deputy with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and an officer with the Winchester Police Department joined in the pursuit, officials said.
The pursuit ended when the suspect wrecked his vehicle at the intersection of Highway 130 and Old Estill Springs Road, officials said.
Officers approached the man, and the situation escalated when he tried to retrieve a weapon, officials said. Officers fired shots, and the suspect was struck and fatally wounded, according to reports.
TBI special agents and forensic scientists are actively investigating the incident, and findings will be shared with 12th District Attorney General Michael Taylor, officials said.
The names of the officers involved in the incident have not been released due to the ongoing investigation.
Sheriff Tim Fuller said Millraney had been released in accordance with the Circuit Court order to reduce the jail population amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is one of those unfortunate incidences that came about because of it,” he said, referring to the shooting incident. “At least no one else was injured and none of the officers got hurt.”
Fuller said the intent of releasing more inmates may be intended to curb the coronavirus threat, but it has its definite drawbacks.
“I’ve got mixed feelings about it,” Fuller said. “I can see using it in some cases, but what concerns me is people being released (who could take harmful action.)”
Fuller said another serious concern stems from the coronavirus threat — an inmate is released, commits a crime and is returned to the jail population. He added that there’s no way to tell whom the inmate had been in contact with while on the outside, and the circumstances increase the potential to spread the disease.
Fuller also said that a protective medical supplies shortage has also left first responders and medical personnel in harm’s way in dealing with the disease, increasing the potential for it to spread and leaving those at the front lines limited in their ability to protect themselves.
He said the jail has reduced its numbers from 226 recently to 147 on Thursday in accordance with the Circuit Court order. He said the jail has a small isolation area for new inmates, but it is nothing like the Lincoln County Jail where a separate block harbors the incoming inmates for two weeks to ensure they don’t have the coronavirus.
Fuller said the staff has a plan in place to regularly disinfect areas, and inmates are isolated with no visitors allowed which has kept the coronavirus out of the jail thus far.
He said he will be glad when life gets back to normal.
“I’ve never seen this in my life before,” he said, referring to the coronavirus and the public’s reaction to the disease.