Officer Burns was shot and killed at a bus shelter at the intersection of Fourth Avenue North and Deaderick Street in Nashville. Officer Burns had just left work early because he was feeling ill and was waiting for a bus to arrive when a paroled inmate approached him.
The parolee had been disciplined by Officer Burns several months earlier and had been sent to the maximum security prison for 30 days as punishment. When the parolee asked Officer Burns if he remembered him he responded that he did not remember him. The suspect then produced a handgun and shot Officer Burns once in the chest, killing him.
The suspect, who was identified by several witnesses at the bus shelter, was arrested the following day and charged with murder.
Officer Burns had served with the Tennessee Department of Correction for 3 years. He was survived by his wife and two daughters.