Catoosa county deputy shot while trying to serve warrants; suspect is in custody _ times free press

James Adam Sherlin, 29, faces a charge of…

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There, where he had just cleaned himself, Sherlin kept a .22-caliber pistol.

“There was water in the tub,” Sisk said. “They were scrambling for the gun. Sherlin got a hold of it.”

During a news conference Monday morning, the sheriff said he was not sure exactly where the two men’s hands were during their fight, but Cantrell and Sherlin were both face down. Cantrell was on top. Another deputy deployed a Taser, but the fight continued. Sherlin had reached for his gun, and Cantrell’s hands were almost on top of the pistol, as well.

Sherlin, 29, reached back and fired. He sliced Cantrell’s left ring finger, Sisk said, but the bullet also hit the shooter, just below his own left arm.

Other deputies then handcuffed Sherlin, who tried kicking himself free to no avail. They took him to Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, where doctors treated him and sent him back to jail. Cantrell, meanwhile, went to Erlanger Health System. Doctors there treated him and sent him home.

Sisk visited Cantrell after hearing about the shooting Sunday night.

“Anything like this will shake you up,” Sisk said. “But he’s in good spirits and ready to return to work. Last night his comment was, ‘Put a Band-Aid on it and let’s get back to work.’ But he needs to heal and take care of his finger.”

Sisk said Cantrell is the first Catoosa County deputy to be shot in the line of duty that he can remember since Baxter Shavers. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a website dedicated to members of law enforcement across the country who have been shot, Baxter was a chief deputy for the sheriff’s office in 1978 when a robber killed him with his own gun.

Sunday’s incident began when the sheriff’s office and the state trooper showed up to Sherlin’s mother’s house on Edgeman Road in Ringgold to serve him with arrest warrants. He was facing charges of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, terroristic threats and criminal trespass.

When the deputies and trooper arrived, Sisk said, Sherlin’s mother told them he was in the shower. They waited for him to get out. And when he did, the struggle ensued.

“We were approaching cautiously, trying not to let the suspect know we were coming or there,” Sisk said. “It’s very unusual that someone would have a pistol stored in the shower with them.”

Sherlin now faces more charges: criminal attempt to commit murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and obstruction of a police officer.

Cantrell has been with the sheriff’s office for about 1 1/2 years. Before that, according to a news release, he worked for the Department of Juvenile Justice for about five years.

Sisk said a doctor put stitches in Cantrell’s finger and he is expected to recover. The sheriff was not sure Monday night when Cantrell would be able to return to work. But when he does, he will be on desk duty at first as he continues to heal before returning to patrol.

Sherlin, meanwhile, has been on the wrong side of the law before. In 2005, court records show, he was arrested in Catoosa County on drug possession and DUI charges. In 2007, he was arrested in Hamilton County on two counts of theft. On March 11, he was indicted in Catoosa County on charges of drug possession and theft by receiving.