Wanted felon caught after car chase

Desmond Hatchett

A violent felon who had been sought by police for more than three months was captured over the weekend by a pair of sharp-eyed patrol officers who spotted him driving in East Knoxville, authorities said. 

Desmond Hatchett, 42, of Knoxville, was taken into custody Sunday evening and served with seven outstanding arrest warrants charging him with aggravated domestic assault, aggravated burglary and other crimes.

Hatchett was behind the wheel of a red Ford Taurus when he was spotted by officers assigned to the Knoxville Police Department’s Community Engagement Response Unit about 6:15 p.m. Sunday. 

 “When officers attempted to catch up with the suspect and initiate a traffic stop, he fled from them at a high rate of speed,” said KPD spokesperson Scott Erland. “Officers initiated their emergency equipment while on N. Mary Street near Magnolia Avenue, but Hatchett continued to flee from officers for several minutes until he came to a stop in a driveway in the 4100 block of Skyline Drive and fled on foot. After a brief foot pursuit, officers took Hatchett into custody without further incident.”

No weapons were found, Erland said. 

The KPD personnel directly involved in his arrest were Officers Austin Jordan and Donald Mullins, according to Erland. 

“We are proud of our officers for their selfless commitment to keeping Knoxville safe. Our officers are willing to stand between those we serve and those who intend to do harm, and this is one of many examples of that dedication to the community,” the spokesperson said.

The officers knew about Hatchett’s status as a wanted man because they’d had previous encounters with him, they recognized the car he was driving, and because of information shared internally by KPD officers, Erland continued.

The aggravated domestic assault and aggravated burglary warrants were issued May 25. He was also wanted for failure to appear on charges of rape, robbery, aggravated assault, aggravated burglary and violating an order of protection that were issued May 28. 

He also racked up a charge of evading arrest Sunday as well as “several additional minor charges,” according to Erland. 

“Mr. Hatchett has an extensive local criminal history dating back to at least 1998, including for numerous violent felonies. He has multiple previous convictions as well, including for aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, and domestic assault,” Erland said in response to a question about Hatchett’s background.

Hatchett was still in custody at the county jail Tuesday. It wasn’t immediately clear when or if he might be eligible to be released on bond pending trial. 

J.J. Stambaugh can be reached at jjstambaugh@hardknoxwire.com. 

Published on September 8, 2021.