Vesser Named Officer of the Month for January 2019

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

Vesser Named Officer of the Month for January 2019

Posted: 05/01/2019
Officer VesserOn Wednesday, May 1, 2019, Mayor Madeline Rogero and Police Chief Eve Thomas presented Officer James Vesser with the January Officer of the Month Award.

On 01/28/2019, Officer Vesser responded to 2560 University Commons Way (Tennessee Rambler Depot) due to a trespassing complaint.  A male, later identified as Tyler Lewis, instructed an employee not to call the police, and he proceeded to lock himself in the bathroom. The employee ran outside, locked herself in her vehicle and called 911.  Officer Vesser arrived, identified himself, and asked Lewis multiple times to exit the bathroom.  Mr. Lewis did not comply, so Officer Vesser gained access to the bathroom. The suspect lunged at Officer Vesser screaming, "kill me!"  The suspect struck Officer Vesser with his fist and attempted to take control of the officer’s firearm.  During this intense struggle, Officer Vesser remained calm, relied on his training and was able to gain control of the suspect.  

Tyler Lewis was charged with criminal trespass, assault, evading arrest, resisting arrest and identity theft.  The Knox County Sheriff’s Office placed charges of Aggravated Robbery and Especially Aggravated Kidnapping, as a result from a prior incident where Mr. Lewis robbed, beat and kidnapped a young man.  Mr. Lewis also had an outstanding arrest warrant in Hamilton County for Aggravated Burglary.  

Officer Vesser’s actions resulted in the apprehension of a violent suspect.  He placed his own safety in jeopardy to save the lives of citizens at the scene as well as saving the suspect himself.  Officer Vesser’s actions and bravery reflect honorably on himself, his department and the law enforcement profession.