RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold told reporters Tuesday an alleged rise in crime against law enforcement following the Super Bowl halftime show may be to blame after several shots were fired outside his home Monday night.
Authorities told News 2 the sheriff, his wife, and his children were all at their Osborne Lane home when the shooting happened around 9 p.m., but luckily no one was injured.
At the time, Sheriff Arnold reportedly told officials he does not know why he was targeted and has not received any threats lately.
On Tuesday, he said, “There’s always a concern in any community of anybody doing anything at any time.”
“Do I feel like they did this because of where I live? I think that’s it. I don’t think of it being anywhere else,” Arnold continued during a press conference.
When asked by a reporter if he has given any thought to the possibility of law enforcement being targeted, Sheriff Arnold said, “Well, that’s what I actually thought about.”
“Once I kind of figured everything out, you know, with everything that’s happened since the Super Bowl, and with law enforcement as a whole, I mean, I think we have lost five to seven officers, five deputies and sheriffs since Sunday’s Super Bowl,” he continued. “You know, that’s what I am thinking. You know, here is another target on law enforcement.”
When asked to clarify what he meant by Super Bowl, the sheriff explained, “Well, you have Beyonce’s video and how that’s kind of led over into other things, it seems like, about law enforcement.”
Later Tuesday, Arnold responded to his earlier comments saying, “My comments reflect the violence and senseless killing of seven deputies in the U.S. since the show aired. My comments are an observation of the violence that has occurred but in no way is meant to offend anyone.”
In a press release, the sheriff’s department said Arnold relied on a statement from the National Sheriff’s Association that read, “The senseless killing of four law enforcement officers just this week – on the heels of the anti-police ‘entertainment’ at the Sunday Super Bowl halftime show – reminds us that the men and women in law enforcement take a solemn oath that includes putting their lives on the line every day to protect our citizens.”
Beyonce’s performance during the Super Bowl 50 halftime show with Bruno Mars and Coldplay garnered both praise and some criticism.
During her routine, Beyonce’s backup dancers wore outfits similar to the style of the Black Panther party. Her dancers also formed an “X” on the field, which some took as a tribute to slain black activist Malcom X. Click here to view the entire halftime show on YouTube.
Details on the shooting outside Sheriff Arnold’s home
After the 9 p.m. shooting, Sheriff Arnold told a responding officer that he was on the phone when he heard about 8 gunshots outside.
He reported he told his family to get on the ground while he looked out a window, spotting a dark grey Nissan Altima drive passed the home, headed toward Memorial Boulevard.
A neighbor told the same officer she heard five to six shots. She looked out her window and saw a light-colored, four-door sedan back up and sit still at the house across the street for about 60 seconds before heading down Osborne Lane toward Memorial Boulevard.
A second neighbor told officers he was backing out of his driveway when he heard five gunshots. He stopped his vehicle, a 2015 white Nissan Altima, and looked around, according to the police report. When the neighbor did not see anything, authorities said he continued on to Walmart.
During their investigation, authorities found six .22 caliber shell casings in the street near the intersection of Osborne Lane and Caraway Drive.
The Murfreesboro Police Department is still investigating. There’s no word on a suspect at this time.
Deputies are standing watch outside Arnold’s home as the investigation continues.
“Right now there has been a deputy pretty much stationed at my house. I’m going to review that today with my staff at a staff meeting that whenever my wife and kids are at home there may be a deputy permanently stationed there,” Arnold said.
He added, “I’m the one who stood on street corners and begged for this job. My wife and kids just supported me in doing it and let me do it.”
$20 million lawsuit filed against Sheriff Arnold
The same day the Sheriff held his press conference, News 2 found out he had been named in a $20 million lawsuit filed Dec. 16, 2015.
The lawsuit was filed in a federal court by the parents of an inmate who was beaten in his Rutherford County jail cell by another inmate.
The lawsuit alleges Arnold didn’t properly train his staff and didn’t move the other inmate even though that inmate’s mother allegedly told jail officials he was a danger to himself and others.
The Sheriff’s Department said they couldn’t comment on the lawsuit.
Sheriff Arnold under investigation for e-cigs
Sheriff Arnold remains under investigation after allegations of public corruption arose last year dealing with his connection to an e-cigarette company called JailCigs.
He’s accused of listening the company, which provides cigarettes to jails and inmates, as a source of personal income. Arnold’s aunt and uncle co-own the company along with Rutherford County Chief Deputy of Administration Joe Russell.
In May 2015, Arnold’s home and office were raided by the federal and Tennessee bureaus of investigation in connection to the case.
At the time, Arnold told News 2 he did not believe it is a conflict of interest. Click here to see his statement in full.
The investigation began after a group of citizens filed an ouster complaint and the county’s district attorney asked the TBI to investigate.
Chief Deputy Russell was suspended for 10 days without pay following an internal investigation by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.
Shootings involving law enforcement after Super Bowl 50
Two Maryland deputies died on Feb. 10 after they were wounded by a gunman who opened fire inside a crowded restaurant and got into a shootout with deputies.
Fargo officer Jason Moszer was killed during a standoff with a domestic violence suspect on Feb. 11.