A Davidson County grand jury has indicted Metro Police Officer Andrew Delke in connection with the shooting death of Daniel Hambrick.
"The Grand Jury, an independent body of 13 citizens of Davidson County, returned an indictment charging Andrew Delke with First Degree Murder for the fatal shooting of Daniel Hambrick. The case will now proceed in the Criminal Court of Davidson County and, as it is a pending case, I will not be able to comment further about the facts and evidence," District Attorney General Glenn Funk said in a statement.
Attorney David Raybin, who represents Delke, released a statement about the indictment.
"I understand that the District Attorney has obtained an indictment from the Grand Jury. Officer Andrew Delke will continue to defend himself on the basis that he acted in accordance with his training and Tennessee law in response to an armed suspect who ignored repeated orders to drop his gun. Officer Delke appreciates the outpouring of support he has received from members of the community who understand the difficult and often life-threatening situations faced by our police officers every day.
"While no citizen looks forward to a trial on allegations such as this, Officer Delke and his defense team will trust in the jury system. We will enter a plea of not guilty to this charge."
Raybin also added that Delke was on bond from before, and would not be re-arrested.
"The case will appear in criminal court in perhaps a week to ten days for the arraignment," said Raybin.
The Nashville Fraternal Order of Police released a statement regarding the indictment:
“Today’s politically-motivated charges against Officer Delke are no surprise given District Attorney Funk’s failure to allow this case to be viewed through a lens of transparency where all the facts can presented. Officer Delke lawfully defended his life after a convicted felon pointed a loaded, military grade semi-automatic weapon at him and refused commands to drop the gun. That’s not a crime; it’s what Officer Delke and every other police officer in America is trained to do to protect their life and others. As this process moves forward, we intend to ensure that Officer Delke gets the rigorous defense he deserves. We’re confident that, in the end, he will be cleared of these charges.”
Delke shot and killed Hambrick on July 26, 2018, after a traffic stop near the intersection of 17th Avenue North and Jo Johnston Avenue.
At the time, Metro Police reported officers with the department's Juvenile Crime Task Force noticed a car driving erratically. Officers tried to stop the vehicle, but the vehicle did not pull over. Police did not give chase, opting instead to expand the search for the vehicle.
Later in the evening a Metro officer encountered a vehicle matching the car's description in the parking lot of the John Henry Hale Apartments near the corner of 17th Avenue North and Jo Johnston Avenue.
In a statement to the TBI, Delke's description of what happened that evening was played during his court hearing on Jan. 4.
Delke described watching Hambrick pull a gun from his waistband and point it in his direction while running away. Delke said Hambrick gave him what's called a "targeted glance," something he said police officers use to describe someone trying to get an idea of where to aim.
Delke also described repeatedly yelling to Hambrick to put the gun down. He said at that moment he was thinking Hambrick could shoot at any moment but also wanted to give him every opportunity to follow commands.
Delke said once he yelled for Hambrick to stop or he'll shot, he fired until Hambrick was on the ground.
After two days of testimony, General Sessions Judge Melissa Blackburn decided there was enough evidence to send the case to the grand jury.
"The Court is mindful of the fact that police work is stressful; that officers must make split second decisions and often act in a heroic manner. This does not justify the pursuit of a man suspected of no crime following the trailing of a car not apparently involved in any criminal activity. The decision to pursue Mr. Hambrick on foot seems from this proof to have been prompted by mere assumptions. While this behavior was sufficient to cause Mr. Delke to exercise caution for his own safety, it did not justify the foot pursuit and the killing of a man suspected of no crime known to the defendant at that time," Blackburn said in her order sending the case to the grand jury.
Delke's attorney said that Delke remains on the police force, placed on administrative assignment.
"Officer Delke remains on the police force. While he has been decommissioned per police policy, he has been placed on administrative assignment while the criminal case and an internal investigation are pending," said Raybin.