A Tipton County grand jury has ruled that a deputy sheriff's fatal shooting of a gunman last month in Mason was "justified, proper and necessary," officials said Thursday.
The dead gunman, 18-year-old Chastain Montgomery Jr., and his father, Chastain Montgomery, 47, were indicted 10 days later by a federal grand jury in the shooting deaths last October of two postal workers in Henning.
The father remains in federal custody without bond. The son's case was abated by death.
The younger Montgomery was killed Feb. 14 after leading authorities on a several-counties chase following a carjacking in Nashville.
Dist. Atty. Mike Dunavant said that when the teenager was stopped in Mason near an Xpress Mart, he emerged from his vehicle firing at officers with two pistols, one in each hand.
Haywood County Chief Deputy Sheriff Mike Smothers shot one of the guns from Montgomery's left hand and when the teen continued firing on officers Smothers fired four more times, striking Montgomery three times in the right arm and one fatal shot to the chest.
Dunavant said Smothers fired from 57 yards away.
"Chief Smothers' calm and precise actions in the face of intense danger are a testament to his training and professionalism as a law enforcement officer, and no doubt saved lives that day in Mason," Dunavant said.
Soon after the shooting stopped, Montgomery's father, a former state corrections officer, was arrested at the scene when he broke through police lines. He and his son both had dye-stained money stolen from a bank, officials said.
The following week, Montgomery and his son were identified as the suspected gunmen who robbed and killed postal employees Paula Robinson, 33, and Judy Spray, 59, on Oct. 18 in the U.S. Post Office in Henning.
Authorities have not said whether the Montgomerys were on their radar as suspects before last month's events in Mason.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service