Officer OK in killing Grammy winner accused of kidnapping family, expert says

WSMV 4 wanted to know if the officer’s actions were appropriate, so we asked a law enforcement expert.
Was deadly force justified in a Hermitage officer-involved shooting? WSMV's Marissa Sulek asks that question to a law enforcement expert.
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 8:09 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Video taken by a Metro SWAT officer’s body-worn camera shows the moment the officer shoots and kills 54-year-old Mark Capps, a four-time Grammy winner accused of kidnapping and threatening his family on Thursday.

The officer was at the home to serve a warrant for kidnapping and aggravated assault. Officers said Capps was armed and made movements officers thought were threatening. But with just only moments to make a decision, WSMV4 wanted to know if the officer’s actions were appropriate. WSMV 4 brought our questions to a former law enforcement officer.

It was just seconds from when officers give a command to Capps that one opens fire.

“That was the first thing that I saw initially,” said former Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Michael Collins.

Collins said after he watched the body camera video, he believes the officer did the right thing given the split-second decision and circumstances.

“You have a prior incident where the wife and daughter experience threats from the same suspect,” Collins said.

Metro Police say Capps held his wife and stepdaughter at gunpoint inside their Hermitage home. They then fled the scene and reported the incident to the police.

“Do officers have to identify themselves before the suspect even answers the door and did they do this in this situation?” WSMV4′s Marissa Sulek asked Collins.

“The visibility for him, the suspect, to determine if these were officers, that’s no longer a question,” Collins said. “He saw they were in uniform and then this person saw they were standing in the doorway armed.”

Police say the glass storm door allowed the SWAT team to see Capps’ gun and act.

“From what we saw, it was less than a second and then we heard gunfire,” said WSMV4′s Marissa Sulek to Collins. “Is that long enough for him to drop his weapon? Should they have given them more time or is this a case-by-case basis?”

“They had the information that made them prepared to use deadly force,” Collins said. “This was a person that already threatened his family. What was going to keep him from killing any one of those officers? And sometimes that decision is a split-second, and that’s what transpired.”

Metro Police say Capps had cameras around his home, so he could possibly see the SWAT officers responding. We reached out to the District Attorney. They said Capps has no prior domestic arrests on record.