3 Fatally Stabbed, Suspect Killed by Deputy at Rest Stop

3 Fatally Stabbed, Suspect Killed by Deputy at Rest Stop
A stock crime scene photo. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
The Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—A man fatally stabbed three employees and wounded a customer at a Tennessee rest stop and travel center Tuesday morning before a deputy shot and killed him, authorities said.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call around 7 a.m. at a Pilot Travel Center off Interstate 40 to find a person with stab wounds outside the store and a man armed with a knife in the parking lot, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a statement. Witnesses identified the man as the suspect, and he refused deputies’ demands to drop the weapon, the bureau said. At some point during the encounter, a deputy fired, striking and killing the suspect, the statement said.

Authorities found four stabbing victims. Three were pronounced dead at the scene, and the fourth was taken to a hospital for treatment. The victims include Pilot employees, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Leslie Earhart told news outlets.

“Today is a difficult day for the Pilot Company family,” a statement from Pilot says. “We are devastated to confirm the loss of three team members and the injury of a guest after an act of violence at our Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, location this morning. It is with heavy hearts that we extend our deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of the victims.”

Travel centers like Pilot offer gas, food, parking, and other amenities to truckers and other travelers.

Investigators were still working to determine a motive for the violence, Earhart said. The bureau did not release the names of any victims or the suspect.

Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler said the deputy who fired the shot was not hurt.

The investigation remains active and ongoing.

“It’s a very large scene—it involves outside and inside,” said Earhart.

Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam came to the center and could be seen conferring with Spangler and other authorities, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

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