KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — As the investigation continues into Tuesday’s fatal stabbing and officer-involved shooting incident at the Pilot Travel Center on Strawberry Plains Pike, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has identified the deceased suspect as Idris Abdus-Salaam, a truck driver from Durham, North Carolina.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Department received a call reporting a stabbing at the truck stop shortly before 7 a.m. Tuesday (April 7). Upon arrival, officers found four victims; three were reported dead at the scene and the fourth was transported to a local hospital.
When confronted by officers, the suspect now identified as Abdus-Salaam refused to drop a knife, according to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) spokesperson Leslie Earhart.
“At some point during the encounter, one of the officers fired shots, striking the individual. He was pronounced dead at the scene,” Earhart said in a press conference following the incident.
TBI has also released the names of the three deceased victims: Joyce Whaley, Patricia Denise Nibbe and Nettie Spencer. TBI has also confirmed that they were all employed at the Pilot Travel Center. The fourth victim, who was a customer, remains hospitalized.
Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam released the following statement Tuesday afternoon.
“Today is a difficult day for the Pilot Company family. 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. We are providing support and counseling to the families and our team. We are working closely with local authorities. Please keep these families in your thoughts and prayers.”
In an earlier interview, Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler said the officer involved in the shooting is OK and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will be responsible for further information and investigation in the case.