Sheriff: Man being booked into jail takes shotgun, holds 30 hostage

GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – A suspect reportedly grabbed a shotgun during an escape attempt and held 30 people hostage at the Sumner County jail Wednesday afternoon.

A Westmoreland, Tennessee, officer was transporting a suspect to be booked into the facility around 6 p.m. when the suspect got free from his handcuffs and began to struggle with the officer.

James McCutchen (Courtesy: Gallatin Police Department)
James McCutchen (Courtesy: Gallatin Police Department)

The suspect, identified as James McCutchen, 39, reportedly got into the driver’s seat of a patrol car and attempted to flee, dragging the officer and injuring him.

As he was stopped by the security gate, McCutchen then reportedly fled on foot to the outside perimeter of the building with a shotgun taken from the patrol car.

MORE: Surveillance of the incident has been released. Click here to view stills from the video.

He encountered a Sumner County deputy and pointed the shotgun at the deputy, who fired one shot at McCutchen but missed.

The sheriff told News 2 at that point, McCutchen could have fled the scene but instead ran into the jail’s visitation center.

While inside, he’s accused of ordering an estimated 30 people, including children, to the ground.

The video from inside the jail is graphic. McCutchen reportedly told all the visitors they were going to die.

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

Just moments before, families are seen gathering and children are seeing playing. Then he entered while holding a shotgun.

“He put a gun in [a lady’s] face and told her he was going to blow her face off if she didn’t lock the doors,” one witness told News 2.

“The guy pulled a girl, and he said, ‘You are going to be first. Come here, little girl,’” the witness added.

Her husband is the brave citizen who slammed McCutchen against the wall and shoved the gun against him chest, beating him down until officers arrived.

“God gave me an opportunity to do what needed to be done and he put me there to do it I think,” said Anthony Hyde of Nashville.

He was inside the visitor center with his wife Alicia when McCutchen came in with a shotgun. “We were there filing a warrant for harassment,” said Hyde who now has a broken finger.

“I was as loud as I could possibly be and I was on top of him and just kept trying to get him to stop,” said Hyde.

He said McCutchen threatened to kill.

“He said, ‘Whose girl is this?’ and he said, ‘Come here little girl,’ then he said something about you are going to be the first one and I mean my son is five years old and I thought this can’t happen this way,” said Hyde.

That’s when he said he took action. “I just jumped forward and grabbed the gun with both hands and pushed it and pushed him,” said Hyde.

“I hit him until I was out of oxygen,” he continued.

McCutchen was booked into the jail on his original charges and also faces additional charges of especially aggravated kidnapping and three counts of aggravated assault.

The officer injured by the vehicle was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment. He was released Thursday.

The Gallatin Police Department has taken over the investigation, which is ongoing, as it involves the sheriff’s office.

McCutchen remains jailed on a $10 million bond.

Additional charges are expected.

He is due in court October 7.

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