KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – An Austin-East High School student accused of shooting a Knoxville police officer died Monday afternoon.
Officers with the Knoxville Police Department responded to a report of someone possibly armed with a gun at Austin-East Magnet High School around 3:15 p.m. Monday, according to the TBI.
Upon arrival, officers located the student inside a school restroom. TBI officials said that officers ordered the student out, but he refused to comply.
As officers entered the restroom, the student reportedly fired shots, striking an officer. Officials said one officer returned fire.
No information was released about whether the returned fire struck the student.
The officer who was shot was taken to University of Tennessee Medical Center with a leg injury where he was last listed in serious condition and in surgery.
Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon confirmed she met with the officer who was conscious and alert, “He’d rather he be hurt than anyone else and he’s in very good spirits.”
Knoxville Police Chief Eve Thomas said it was chilling to learn an officer had been hit and that it had happened at a school. She said the school was initially placed on lockdown while officers ascertained who was involved. She said officers then worked to reunite students with their loved ones.
Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the incident including Knoxville Fire Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in Nashville (ATF Nashville) and TBI. The Knoxville Fire Department said its crews were some of the first on the scene. Fire officials said officers worked as shields for paramedics who worked to find injured individuals.
“ATF will be working with the Knoxville PD as well as focusing on the tracing of firearms and the recovery of shell cases which will be entered into NIBIN to see if there are any connections to previous shootings,” said ATF in a statement.
KPD said a reunification site had been established at the baseball field behind Austin-East High School near Wilson and South Hembree.
Following the shooting, Knox Co. Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas notified the public regarding the school building being secured. “The school building has been secured and students who were not involved in the incident have been released to their families,” said KCS Superintendent Bob Thomas.
Mayor Kincannon commended Austin-East School staff for their work to protect students. She also praised the officer who was shot on the scene for risking his life for the safety of the students.
“We all need to work together to stop the violence,” Kincannon said. “It’s a big challenge and we’re going to need the whole city to work together.”
Austin-East Behavior Interventionist, Quana Fields, told WVLT’s Ashley Bohle she and other staff members were inside the school building around 4:00 p.m. while police continued their investigation.
Knox Co. Mayor Kincannon and KCS Superintendent Bob Thomas released a statement in a media briefing Monday night following the fatal shooting at Austin-East High School.
p class=”text | article-text”>“Let’s work together to stop the violence in Knoxville,” said Mayor Kincannon. “We lost someone particularly close to the community,” says Mayor Kincannon KCS Bob Thomas says Austin-East will have counselors available at the school on Tuesday, April 13.
The TBI will lead the investigation. WVLT is continuing to update with the latest information.
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