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Woman who spotted the Waffle House shooting suspect not offered a Crime Stoppers reward

Tip went through 911, not Crime Stoppers
Posted at 7:46 PM, Aug 07, 2018

No Crime Stoppers reward will be given to the woman who alerted police of the Waffle House shooter's whereabouts after he killed multiple people in Antioch. That's because the woman did not submit a tip through Crime Stoppers, instead, calling 911 with the suspect's location. 

"I get goosebumps talking about it," Lydia French said as she recalled the day that the suspect was caught. 

French spotted the man coming out of the woods near her worksite, next to where the suspect lived, when she called police. 

She then spotted the suspect a second time and called 911 again. 

"When he came out of the woods the second time and I got a good look at him, oh, I knew. I knew for sure. I called 911 back the second time and said, 'Your guy is right here. It's him,'" French said.

She said police responded immediately.

"It was crazy. I've never seen so many vehicles just storm an area like they did," she said. 

While French called in the tip to 911, she was surprised that she wasn't given a reward from Crime Stoppers, and many others were confused about the situation as well.

"Unfortunately, we cannot pay the reward on this as Crime Stoppers was contacted after they advised the police department," an email from Crime Stoppers read.

Crime Stoppers is a separate entity from the police department. 

"I actually thought they were hand-in-hand," French said. 

According to Liz Parrott, the chair of Nashville Crime Stoppers, to get a reward from Crime Stoppers, tipsters have to call the tip line, (615) 74-CRIME, or submit the tip through their mobile app. 

In the case of the Waffle House manhunt, French called 911. She never called Crime Stoppers, not until a month later to inquire about the reward. 

Crime Stoppers is designed to get tips in cold cases or in cases where someone with information wants to remain anonymous, and it generally isn't used in active crimes like the Waffle House manhunt.

"Anytime there's an active crime in progress, 911 is always best," Parrot said. 

While French said it isn't about the money, she wanted to get her story out so the public would know in the future: If you want the Crime Stoppers reward, you need to reach out to Crime Stoppers before the police. 

"I'm glad I could do what I could do to make the community and everybody feel safer, I just hope the families get justice," French said.

French was given a $1,000 reward from the TBI for her assistance in the case.