The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's probe into the death of a Georgia man killed in an officer-involved shooting in Oneida Saturday morning is expected to be concluded by the middle of the week.
Scott County Sheriff Ronnie Phillips told the Independent Herald Monday that the TBI is expected to wrap up its preliminary investigation by mid-week, at which point it will turn its findings over to the office of District Attorney General Jared Effler, who requested the external investigation as a formality.
Ron "Harlan" Lewallen, 30, of Dalton, Ga., was killed shortly after 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning, after he allegedly nearly struck law enforcement officers with his vehicle.
Lewallen, who had a lengthy criminal history, was the driver of a vehicle that led law enforcement officers from both the Sheriff's Department and Oneida Police Department on a brief chase through Oneida before shots were fired near the intersection of Alberta Street and Depot Street.
Both local law enforcement agencies have been silent on the incident, deferring questions to the TBI. As a matter of standard procedure, the state agency offers little comment on its investigations, which it conducts into all officer-involved shootings.
The agency said Saturday that Lewallen was pronounced dead at the scene, after his vehicle crashed a short distance from where he nearly struck several law enforcement officers.
That altercation followed a pursuit through Oneida, which witnesses told the Independent Herald started near Walmart on the "Four-Lane" section of Alberta Street, some 1.5 miles north of where officers eventually stopped Lewallen's vehicle in the parking lot of a convenience store at the intersection of Alberta and Depot streets.
The TBI said that officers were successful in removing a female passenger, who has not been named, from the vehicle. But, the agency said, Lewallen refused to comply with officers' demands and accelerated his vehicle, nearly striking at least one of the officers.
The agency did not say whether Lewallen was intentionally attempting to strike officers with the vehicle or was making a bid to escape. The agency also did not specified whether Lewallen died from gunshot wounds or from injuries sustained in the crash, though reports have indicated that he died of gunshot wounds.
The TBI has not named the officers involved, which also keeps with standard procedure. Nor has it said how many shots were fired. It is not known whether Lewallen was armed, or the circumstances leading to the initial efforts to stop his vehicle.
Phillips said Monday that at least some of that information will be released after the TBI wraps up its preliminary investigation this week.
Alberta Street was closed from Depot Street to Beets Avenue for several hours Saturday morning as the TBI conducted its investigation. The Tennessee Highway Patrol also joined law enforcement agencies on the scene.
Lewallen had a lengthy criminal history, mostly in north Georgia, where he had been arrested multiple times for offenses ranging from drug possession to shoplifting to felony probation violation. He was also a prison parolee, which likely would have prevented him from legally leaving the State of Georgia.
Saturday's incident was not the first time Lewallen interfered with officers attempting to take him into arrest. In November 2012, he was charged in Whitfield County, Ga., with willful obstruction of law enforcement officers.
Lewallen had family ties in Scott County. His father, Ronald Lewallen, of Pioneer, died in Scott County in December 2015. A friend of the family said Lewallen occasionally visited the local community.
Saturday's incident marked the third officer-involved shooting in Scott County in the past 10 months.
In July 2016, Arthur "June Bug" Letner, 50, of Helenwood, was shot and wounded at his home in the Cherry Fork neighborhood after lunging with a knife at a domestic violence officer from the Scott County Sheriff's Department who was attempting to serve an arrest warrant as part of an investigation into Letner's alleged assault on his girlfriend.
One month later, Shannon O'Regan, 30, of Pine Knot, Ky., was shot and wounded in the parking lot of the Oneida Walmart after wielding a handgun as Oneida Police Department officers arrived on scene following reports of a domestic disturbance between O'Regan and his girlfriend.
Both men recovered fully from their injuries and were later indicted by a Scott County grand jury.
Statewide, there have been 19 officer-involved shootings since Jan. 1, 2017.