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Cell phone app helps lead police to deadly confrontation

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Deann Goetzinger Deann Goetzinger
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

An app meant to help a Middle Tennessee family keep up with each other wound up helping guide police straight to an armed and dangerous fugitive Friday in Nashville.

Police shot and killed that man at a busy Nashville shopping area after they say he carjacked a woman and led officers on a chase.

Deann Goetzinger said the suspect, identified by Metro police as Aaron Dino Smith, had jumped in front of her car, pointed a gun at her and demanded she get out.

But what that suspect didn't know as he led officers on a chase was that Goetzinger left her cell phone behind in the car.

The Goetzingers credit the app Find My Friends with helping track the phone and the dangerous suspect.

The family originally got the app to track their teenage daughter in the event anything bad ever happened to her, but Deann Goetzinger says she never imagined her daughter would be the one to use it for her.

"I knew my mom still had the phone in the car, so we were able to find almost exactly where he was so police could get him so he wouldn't hurt anyone," said daughter Kelby Goetzinger.

The app uses GPS normally just to help find friends and family, but in this case, it was used for much more.

Kelby Goetzinger was on the phone with police tracking the suspect's every move.

"She was able to help the police locate him. And he was going to hurt somebody that day," Deann Goetzinger said.

This all started Friday when a Smyrna police detective was following up on a case in which some credit cards were stolen. Things took a bad turn when the detective spotted the suspect, Smith, who pulled a gun on the detective before getting away.

After carjacking Deann Goetzinger and winding up at the shopping center on Elliston Place, police say Smith turned toward officers with a handgun. Five Metro police officers fired in self-defense, killing Smith.

Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said Smith had a lengthy criminal record including robbery, burglary and forgery convictions.

Police identified the five officers involved in the shooting as Josh Reece, Michael Gooch, Shawn Rosson, Clyde Stambaugh and Dustin Tidwell. All of them have been placed on routine administrative assignment.

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