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TBI investigates man killed during Cookeville arrest

Staff Reports • Jun 30, 2017 at 2:56 PM

At the request of 13th District Attorney Bryant Dunaway, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents continue to investigate an incident in which a man was killed as Cookeville police officers attempted to arrest him early Friday.

According to TBI officials, the incident happened at about 12:30 a.m., when the Cookeville Police Department dispatched officers after receiving a call about a man, later identified as Richard Thomas Sparks, 37, walking in the median of Interstate 40 near mile marker 288.

When an officer arrived and made contact with Sparks, he apparently became combative, according to a report from the TBI. A second officer arrived to help, and the two officers were able to put Sparks on the ground in handcuffs.

A short time later, according to a TBI report, Sparks became unresponsive. The two officers suspected an opioid overdose and administered a dose of naloxone, which was not successful in reviving Sparks.

Officers then tried using a portable automatic external defibrillator, which was also unsuccessful.

Medics took Sparks to Cookeville Regional Medical Center, where doctors pronounced him dead.

TBI agents will turn over all collected evidence to the district attorney for review and consideration. The TBI will as a fact-finding entity in the case.

Per TBI policy, the agency did not release the names of the officers involved in the incident. 

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