A Lewis County deputy assisting Tennessee Game Warden in attempting to arrest two poaching suspects shot one as he tried to level a long gun on the officers.

According to a news release from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Dept., Tuesday night (Nov. 25) around 8:30 pm, Lewis County deputies were called to assist a Lewis County TWRA Wildlife Officer.

The un-named oficer said he had seen a vehcile spotlighting for deer and attempted a stop. The vehicle howwever fled at high speed.

Lewis County deputies caught up to the chase on Natchez Trace Parkway. At one point the suspect vehicle forced a deputy’s car off the road.

The suspect’s vehicle began smoking and slowed to a stop.

According to the sheriff’s dept. release, “The Driver exited the driver side with his hands in his coat. Lewis County Deputies and the T.W.R.A officer exited their vehicles.
The driver was given verbal command by Lewis County Deputies to get down on the ground. When the Lewis County Deputy put his hands on the driver, the driver resisted restraint. The driver was identified as Robert “Bob” Allan Szostek.

At the same time, the passenger exited the passenger side with a long gun in hand and ran east up an embankment. Lewis County Deputies gave verbal command for the fleeing subject to get down on the ground. The passenger turned toward the three Lewis County Deputies and the T.W.R.A officer and pointed the long gun toward them.

One Lewis County Deputy fireed his service weapon at the passenger and the passenger fell to the ground. The passenger immediately got back up and ran again. The deputy fired a total of four shots.

The Chattanoogan
Hours latter the alleged suspect contacted the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department requesting assistance because he had been shot. Thomas J. Szostek was airlifted to a hospital where he remains in critical condition.

Multiple charges for both men are being filed;

The driver, Robert “Bob” Allan Szostek was taken into custody and charged:
by T.W.R.A officer with:
Hunting from a Public Road;
Spotlighting;
Hunting from a motor vehicle;
Hunting big game in closed season;
Felony Evading; and
Reckless Endangerment

by Lewis County Deputy officer with:
Possession drug paraphernalia
Reckless endangerment
Reckless endangerment
Reckless endangerment
Resisting arrest
Felony Evading

Thomas J Szostek is charged with two counts of First Degree Attempted Murder by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department. Charged by T.W.R.A officer with Hunting from a Public Road; Spotlighting; Hunting from a motor vehicle; and Hunting big game in closed season.

Once again this shows us how dangerous the job our law enforcement community does every day especially the game wardens who face armed suspects in remote areas often. When ever you get a chance thank them for the job they do for us.