Authorities have identified Maryville, Tenn., officer Kenny Moats as the cop who was shot and killed Thursday while answering a domestic violence call. Police say Moats and other deputies responded to a call of domestic disturbance between Brian Keith Stalans and his father.
Stalans shot Moats in the neck, police say, in “an ambush.” He was charged Monday with criminal homicide and aggravated assault.
Moats was a nine-year veteran of the Maryville Police Department, deemed a “stellar” officer by Chief Tony Crisp, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. A father of three and president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, Moats had recently been assigned to the narcotics unit, police said.
Here’s what you need to know about Moats:
1. A Single Shot to the Neck Killed Moats, Officials Say
In a press release, the City of Maryville said Moats was killed by a single bullet to the neck. The wound entered “just above” his bulletproof vest, the release states.
Moats, a member of the department’s narcotics division, responded to a domestic incident when he was in the area for a unrelated purpose. He answered the call with a county sheriff’s deputy, CBS News reported.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports Moats was pronounced dead at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.
2. Moats Alleged Shooter, Brian Keith Stalans, Opened Fire on the Police, Authorities Say
Brian K. Stalans, 44, was arrested Thursday night for shooting Moats. Police responded to a domestic incident at Stalans’ father’s house earlier in the day, but authorities said they didn’t have probable cause to arrest Stalans then.
Cops were called back to Stalans’ father’s home on Alcoa Trail for a second domestic incident, but this time it “involved a gun,” Blount County Sheriff James Berrong said. Stalans opened fire on the police from his father’s garage, authorities claim.
Two deputies have been placed on administrative leave, the News Sentinel reported.
WVLT reports that Stalans wasn’t hit before he was taken into custody.
Stalans is being held in Blount County jail. Records show he’s currently being held as a pretrial felon and hasn’t been officially charged.
3. Moats Attended a Local High School & Has 3 Children
Moats graduated in 2002 from Heritage High School in Maryville, the city said in its press release. Moats also graduated from Walters State Police Academy in December 2005, it states.
Moats has three children, and a memorial fund has been established, officials say. “Anyone who wishes to contribute to the fund can drop off donations at CBBC Bank or the City of Maryville – please checks payable to the Kenny Moats Memorial Fund,” the city said.
According to the News Sentinel, even a T-shirt shop has “begun taking orders for commemorative shirts with proceeds going to the family.”
“We’re going to donate $10 of every shirt; the total proceeds are going to the family,” Andy Tinker, whose family owns and operates Pokey’s & Sports in Maryville, told the paper.
A funeral service has not yet been established.
“We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to KenJo Markets and Wes and Charlie Carruthers for their generosity. We are overwhelmed by the generosity and caring this community is extending to us,” Crisp said in a press release.
4. Moats Had Recently Been Reassigned to the Narcotics Unit
Although he had been on the force since 2007, Moats only recently joined the narcotics unit, police said.
Moats was in the area of the domestic incident for his duties related to the 5th Judicial District Drug Task Force, even though another unit had been dispatched, according to the News Sentinel.
According to Blount County, the task force works to eradicated drugs in the judicial district by working with law enforcement, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and administrative officials. The county states: “In 2012, Drug Task Force investigators arrested 412 persons on 509 charges for drug-related crimes in and around Blount County. These arrests were the result of 459 cases and 30 search warrants. The Drug Task Force verdict statistics show a 97 percent conviction rate.”
5. A Vigil Is Planned for Friday Night
Maryville will mourn the fallen officer Friday night at 8 p.m. outside the Blount County Courthouse.
“The Blount County community is a close-knit community,” he said. “We love our law enforcement folks. We are just thinking and praying for that family and obviously for all of our law enforcement officials today.”
The Maryville Daily Times has an entire list of community events for the fallen officer.