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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
Officer Honored For Arrest Of Murder Suspect

Mayor Haslam, Officer Mitchell, Chief OwenOctober 2, 2007 - Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Chief Sterling Owen today named Officer Benny Mitchell the August Officer of the Month for the Knoxville Police Department. Officer Mitchell has been with KPD since April 1989.

Chief Owen said that on August 30, 2007, at approximately 4:11 p.m., Officer Mitchell was investigating a vehicle crash in the West District when E-911 dispatchers notified the district sergeant that they had received a call indicating Charles Thomas, a suspect wanted in connection with a murder, was at Barnes and Noble on Kingston Pike. Due to a high volume of calls for service, every officer was working on an investigation. Dispatchers then indicated the suspect was turning onto Kingston Pike and provided a partial license tag number.

Officer Mitchell monitored the radio and began searching for the suspect vehicle. After several minutes of searching, Officer Mitchell located a vehicle matching the description of the suspect's vehicle, but the tag number did not match.

Chief Owen said, "Even though the tag number did not match, Officer Mitchell continued to monitor the vehicle until it made an abrupt turn into a parking lot. Officer Mitchell then approached the suspect who gave a false name, which prompted Officer Mitchell to request additional descriptors and information on the suspect."

During this time additional officers arrived on the scene that were able to confirm that the suspect was Charles Thomas who was wanted for the December 12, 2006 shooting of Richard Cozart. Thomas was taken into custody without incident.

Chief Owen said, "Officer Mitchell's quick reaction and investigative skills resulted in Thomas being taken off the streets after being on the run for nearly nine months."

Mayor Haslam said, "We congratulate Officer Mitchell for a job well done."

Officer Mitchell will receive a signed certificate from the mayor and chief.

For Immediate Release
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