A 31-year-old woman has died following an exchange of gunfire with a Metro police officer Friday morning in a parking lot off Brick Church Pike. Police say the officer is in stable condition.
The Metro Nashville Police Department released edited body and dashboard camera video of the incident Friday evening. It shows Officer Joshua Baker of the East Precinct conducting a calm traffic stop that suddenly escalated when he attempted to arrest the driver, Nika Holbert. The video shows Baker finding what police say was marijuana and an unidentified powder in her bag, a brief chase around the vehicle, Baker using a Taser on Holbert, and then finally the exchange of gunfire.
MNPD reports the officer underwent surgery at Vanderbilt for a wound to the side of his torso. Holbert was treated at Skyline Medical Center but later died.
According to police, the incident began when Baker, who has been with the force for 14 years, pulled over a black Chevrolet Camaro at 9:30 a.m. because the car’s owner had six outstanding drug warrants.
When the officer approached the vehicle, he learned that the owner was not the person behind the wheel, and the video released by police does not show what happened to cause Baker to question Holbert. The car had not been reported stolen, and although Holbert can be seen asking why she hasn’t been released, police spokesman Don Aaron says Holbert “essentially complied” with Baker’s directives.
Body camera footage does show Baker searching her bag on the trunk of the car. Holbert makes a phone call and smokes a cigarette as he pulls what appears to be marijuana and the powder from her bag. When Baker asks her to turn around so he can handcuff her, Holbert responds that she hasn’t done anything wrong and runs. After circling the car, she jumps through the open driver’s side door.
The body camera video then shows her being shocked with a Taser. As he releases the trigger to pull Holbert from the vehicle, Baker begins to shout about a gun. Wheeling backward, he fires through the open door at Holbert. The body camera footage is too chaotic to see the gun inside the car or it being fired, but the officer’s dash board camera does appear to show an exchange of gunfire.
Aaron says Holbert tossed her pistol in the parking lot and then sped off. She crashed her car about a block away, where officers rendered first aid until paramedics arrived.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says it will look into the incident, as it does with all shootings in Davidson County that involve police officers. Community Oversight Board staff also responded to the scene and will conduct their own independent investigation.
This is a developing story, and initial reports by law enforcement and media may change as more information comes out.
Samantha Max is a Report for America corps member.