District attorney closes case on officer-involved shooting

White County deputy cleared of any wrongdoing

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District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway has released his official findings in the officer-involved shooting in White County that left a 47-year-old man dead.

Charlie Williams, 47, of Sparta, was shot and killed, on Jan. 8, 2021, when White County deputies reportedly were attempting to serve an arrest warrant, at 1250 Woodland Trail, in Sparta.  The initial investigation indicated that Williams left through the rear of the home at which time the deputies followed him to the back deck. Then, Williams reportedly ran toward the deputy. The deputy reportedly fired at Williams, striking him. He was transported to a local hospital, where he died.

According to a statement released by Dunaway, at approximately 1 p.m., Jan. 26, 2021, his office has reviewed the investigative report produced by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

“After careful consideration, I am requesting the file be closed,” Dunaway said. “Under Tennessee law, there is no evidence that Deputy Cliff Altobelli used excessive force under the circumstances or committed a criminal offense in his use of force.

Dunaway further stated that Williams and other occupants of the residence at 1250 Woodland Trail would not open the door after deputies made their presence known. Reportedly, deputies could hear there were people inside the residence. Officers then made entry into the front door of the residence and announced their presence.

According to Dunaway, deputies observed Williams fleeing out the back door of the home and yelled for him to not move.  Dunaway stated that as Altobelli “met the threshold of the back door,” he did not have his firearm drawn. Williams was on the opposite side of the deck outside the back door. According to Dunaway’s statement, Williams then retrieved a black object from his back pants pocket and turned toward Deputy Altobelli, flailing his arms at the officer with the black object in his hand. Deputy Altobelli drew his handgun with his right hand when Williams came toward him. Deputy Altobelli used his left arm to block Williams' flailing arms. Deputy Altobelli fired a single shot into the abdomen of Mr. Williams who then fell to the deck. Deputy Altobelli then recognized that the black object was a black wallet. Deputy Altobelli stated he thought the object was a knife or a gun when Mr. Williams ran at him.

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