TENSE STANDOFF AT HANCOCK/HAWKINS CO. LINE

Law officers on the scene at the tense standoff Thursday morning with a suicidal man whose truck can be seen parked in front of the building in the center of the photo.

HANCOCK COUNTY — At the request of 3rd District Attorney General Dan Armstrong, TBI Agents are investigating the circumstances leading to an officer-involved shooting that occurred just across the county line in Hancock County.

According to a news release provided by TBI, preliminary information indicates that at approximately 8:45 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, the Hancock Co. Sheriff’s Office received a report of a suicidal male parked along Highway 31 near the Hancock County and Hawkins County line atop Clinch Mountain.

Upon arrival, deputies made contact with Charles John Nicholls, Jr., 53, who was holding a gun to his head. Deputies ordered him to drop the weapon, but he refused to comply with commands. Deputies continued to negotiate with Nicholls for more than a half-hour. At some point, for reasons still under investigation, the situation escalated resulting in two deputies firing shots, striking Nicholls. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

No officers were injured during the incident, TBI said.

As of Tuesday morning, Jan. 21, Nicholls remained hospitalized, a TBI spokesperson told the Review/Eagle.

This remains an active and ongoing investigation, as TBI Special Agents and Forensic Scientists work to gather any and all relevant interviews and evidence. As in any case, TBI’s investigative findings will be shared with the District Attorney General throughout the process for his consideration and review.

The TBI, as a matter of policy, does not identify officers involved in these types of incidents.