Shots fired as MPD officer’s life is threatened

Published 11:18 am Wednesday, July 14, 2010

MURFREESBORO – An apparent dispute among family members on Sunday spilled onto the street where a Murfreesboro Police officer was nearly run over by a vehicle, causing him to draw his weapon and fire two shots.

Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe reported the arrest of Martha Gibson, 45, of Courtland, Va. Gibson stands charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, assault with intent to kill a government official and resist, delay and obstruct.

After being processed at the Murfreesboro Police Department, Gibson was taken before a Hertford County Magistrate and jailed under a $500,000 secured bond.

The incident that led to her arrest occurred at around 8:30 p.m. At that time the Murfreesboro Police were summoned to respond to a Broad Street residence in regards to a domestic dispute.

Rowe said that upon the arrival of MPD Officer Donald Cuff, he was directed by several family members standing in the yard to a blue Mazda van parked on the street.

“As Officer Cuff walked to the front of the vehicle, the driver (later identified as Gibson) began to steer the van in the direction of the officer,” Rowe said. “Officer Cuff stepped out of the way and drew his weapon, ordering the driver to stop. “The vehicle did stop, but the driver, on two more occasions, refused to follow the officer’s repeated requests and steered the vehicle again at the officer.”

Rowe reported that on the third attempt, Officer Cuff, as he was moving out of the way of the oncoming van, fired two shots, both at the right front tire of the vehicle. The van continued to travel approximately 100 yards after that point, with Officer Cuff in pursuit on foot.

However, the incident took another twist after the van finally stopped.

“The driver exited the van and faced Officer Cuff, asking him to shoot her,” Rowe stated. “At that point, Officer Cuff noted that the woman was not armed. He holstered his weapon and drew his tazer, using that to subdue the driver.”

MPD Sgt. Jamie Dilday arrived at that point and assisted Cuff in placing the suspect under arrest.

“This demonstrates how a normal call for assistance can quickly escalate into a deadly situation,” Rowe noted. “I commend Officer Cuff, whose life was threatened, for handling this very professionally, using less force than I believe the law would allow him to use under these circumstances. He was able to take this person into custody without injury to either the suspect or himself.”