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It could happen here
Loudon youth kills cop, self

Several of the more than 100 police officers dispatched to the Harvey residence in Loudon County in response to the killing of Loudon County officer Jason Scott leave after the 24-plus hour standoff was neutralized.- Dan Barile/farragutpress
While Farragut residents mowed their grass, shopped and went about their daily lives, a tragedy unfolded a few miles outside of the town’s boundaries that could have just as well happened in any Farragut neighborhood.

Michael Harvey, a 16-year-old high school student and fast food restaurant worker, launched what would turn out to be a 25-hour siege of his family home, which would result in the deaths of a Loudon County police officer and Harvey himself.

“It was an unfortunate incident,” Larry Morrisett, director of admissions at Peninsula Hospital, said.

Morrisett said that there is no socio-economic boundary “in my experience at all” that dictates who could or will perform violent acts. “It can really happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. It can happen just as much in the inner city, rural Tennessee, or right down in the middle of Farragut. Basically, there are no boundaries to mental illness.

“Things, such as mental illness, are becoming more and more common, especially mood disorders, such as depression, those types of things, are just very common are out there.”

Morrisett added that any kind of situation of that nature, referring to the Harvey incident, is going to have some element of desperation.

“Maybe a sense of hopelessness, helplessness, not knowing what to do next. Not being able to really think through a decision-making process to really come up with what’s the best thing I can do here. That’s where the desperation comes in. Then leads people into making dramatic choices, desperate choices that may not be the best,” he said.

Dr. Kathleen Goyne, medical director of Baptist Behavioral Health Unit at Baptist Hospital East, said that, in her opinion, “any of us are capable of horrific violent acts towards ourselves or others. None of us are exempt from that. I think that anybody who says, ‘I don’t understand how they can do that,’ doesn’t understand themselves.”

Goyne added that she believes that “any of us are capable of doing horrible things.”

Goyne said that a study in the American Journal of Psychology stated that drugs and alcohol can act as predictors for violent behavior.

She said that anyone who has a history of violence toward themselves or others should have any guns removed from the home in which they are living. She also said that when situations escalate to the point that the authorities must be called in, it is important to let the authorities know the state of mind of the individual and any weapons that may be within their reach.

Dwight Van De Vate, chief of deputies for the Knox County Sheriff’s Department, concurred.

He said that it was “a fair assessment that what happened in Loudon County could have happened anywhere including Farragut. It could happen at anytime, at anyplace.”

He added that it is the responsibility of the caller to let 9-1-1 know the status of the situation.

“The more information that we receive on the front end,” he said, “whether it’s this agency or any other law enforcement agency, the better. If someone has a history of violent outbursts or if they have access to weapons, or if they have manifested suicidal tendencies, those are all things that we need to know on the front end. They make a difference on how we respond to the call.”

Van De Vate said, “For instance, if we know that someone has manifested suicidal tendencies in the past, one of the first things we’re going to do is, right behind the responding officers are likely to be a crisis negotiator. So that we have someone that’s ready on the scene and able to engage this person in some productive dialogue and try to keep them from acting on suicidal tendencies.”

He added that if the subject is somebody who has had “outbursts of violence and particularly someone who has access to weapons, obviously, the responding officers are going to keep a greater distance from the scene. Tactical decisions are made based on the information given to the officers. All they can do is act on the information they are given. The more information the better.

“There is an old saying that suicide is anger turned inward, and homicide is anger turned outward. With persons in a mental health crisis, you can go from one to the other in a great big hurry.”

In the case of Michael Harvey, Harvey’s scenario began, according to police, with the consumption of alcohol on Thursday, March 11.

A co-worker at Little Joe’s pizza stated that Harvey, who had been employed at the restaurant for six to eight months, had worked Thursday until about 10 p.m.

On Friday morning, March 12, Harvey had an encounter with his mother Ann Harvey, who told her son that he was not allowed to drive to school that morning. At this time, Ann Harvey told police, her son began to strike her with a pipe. She escaped and called 9-1-1.

At approximately 8:30 a.m. Loudon County patrolman Jason Scott answered the call at the Harvey’s 2005 Palmer Dr. address. On exiting his patrol car, Scott was struck four times in the chest with rounds from a high-powered rifle. Seconds later, a second Loudon County patrolman arrived and reported shots fired.

Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider said that the exact weapon used could not be disclosed because the incident is still being investigated.

After Scott was shot, more than 100 officers from a combined force of Loudon County, Loudon City, Knox County, Blount County and Knoxville City police descended on the Harvey property.

Harvey refused to respond to numerous attempts by police, family and clergy to make contact with the 16-year-old.

Power and telephone lines to the residence were turned off for the night as SWAT team members and uniformed police surrounded the dwelling and used portable lights to keep the house illuminated.

Guider, in a news conference Saturday afternoon, said, “After many hours of not hearing from him, today we took a chance and had canine teams enter the garage.”

Guider said the officers discovered the youth dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted head wound.

Guider said, “It appeared as though (Harvey) had been dead for about 18 hours.”

He added that he believed that Harvey was still alive at about 2 p.m. Friday when officers heard him moving around in an upstairs room.

Harvey was the son of Ann and Frank Harvey. Frank Harvey is an assistant district attorney for Loudon County.

Officer Jason Scott was laid to rest Monday afternoon.

The Harvey family will receive friends tonight at the Church of Savior United Church of Christ at Weisgarber and Lonas roads.

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