1 teen killed, another wounded in West Knoxville shooting

1 teen killed, another wounded in West Knoxville shooting

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DeMonte Bledsoe DeMonte Bledsoe
Jerrell Davis (source: Facebook) Jerrell Davis (source: Facebook)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Shootings in West Knoxville Wednesday night left one West High School student dead and another student with a gunshot wound to the arm.

The teen who was killed was DeMonte Bledsoe, 15, a West High sophomore and former football player. He was shot multiple times.

A Facebook page is set up in Bledsoe's memory. The West High football coach says Bledsoe wasn't on the team this year.

"I had just seen him a few days ago so this is kind of shocking," said Isaac Mobley, one of Bledsoe's former teammates.

The wounded teen was identified as Jerrell Davis, 17, of Knoxville, a senior at the school.

Bledsoe's friends say he was always smiling.

"He had a lot going on at home, but it didn't stop him at all. He just had a smile on his face, kept a positive attitude and was always there for you," said Victoria Cox, Bledsoe's classmate.

She continued. "He was a great kid, and he's going to be missed a lot. Everyone is praying for his family, and I hope they can get through this."

"I was like there is no way he died, there was no way he died," said Cici Mercedes, another classmate.

6 News Reporter Ann Keil interviewed DeMonte Bledsoe and his foster father and foster brother in August 2009 for a memorial West High held to honor a player from Kingsport who died during a game.

DeMonte comforted teammates during the memorial.

"He was a good kid, a good natured young man. He loved the game of football," said Scott Cummings, West High School Football Head Coach.

The foster father was a teammate's father according to Cummings, but Demonte was no longer living with the family.

"He had some shortcomings that he had to overcome with his past, and we were trying to help him do that," Cummings said.

Bledsoe and Davis were shot during an altercation in the parking lot at the Whirlpool Customer Assistance Center at 414 N. Peters Road just after 8:00 p.m. Police say they found Bledsoe there when they arrived.

They say Davis ran across the street to the parking lot of the Burlington Coat Factory for help. He was taken to UT Medical Center for treatment.

Chris Russell was parked in the area and heard what happened. "I pulled into the Burlington parking lot and I heard five or six gunshots. After that I saw police."

Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Darrell DeBusk says a search began immediately. "It was a very quickly evolving crime scene."

DeBusk says witness vehicle descriptions led police to two cars that crashed at Lovell Road and Interstate 40. He says the cars were chasing each other at the time of the accident.

One of the vehicles was marked with several bullet holes.

Four people in those two vehicles were detained for questioning, and later released.

DeBusk says another suspect was detained for questioning at Zuma Fun Center at 400 N. Peters Road and later released.

Investigators say they're looking for two males who were in an older model, white Ford Ranger pickup truck.

One was the passenger in the pickup. He's white with a small build, a pale complexion, several ear piercing's and a Mohawk with highlights.

The other man was the driver of the pickup. He's described as middle-aged with short gray hair and a chubby face.

DeBusk says police have some idea about the motive for the shooting, but they're not releasing the information yet.

"Right now we're waiting for (Davis) the injured person at UT Medical Center to get better so we can question him about what happened," DeBusk said.

None of the people involved in the shooting are believed to have any connection with the Whirlpool Corp. Police say they just happened to be in that parking lot at the time.

Police are asking anyone with information concerning the two they're seeking to call their Crime Information Hotline at 865-215-7212.

6 News Reporters Mona Nair and Ann Keil contributed to this report.

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