School security officer shot to death at Halls High School

School security officer shot to death at Halls High School

October 31, 2006

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- A school security officer was shot and killed late Tuesday night while on patrol at Halls High School in north Knox County.

Russell Kocur, 39, was unarmed when he was shot in the back near the school gymnasium just before 10:30 p.m. 

Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison says Kocur died from his injuries while being taken to UT Medical Center. 

A suspect, 39-year-old Carroll O'Neil Lineberry, was apprehended a short time later while driving Kocur's Chevy Impala on I-275 near the Oldham Road exit. A police benevolent tag helped Knoxville police officers spot it.

The sheriff's office alerted several other area law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for the car when they realized it was missing from the scene.

A car investigators found at the scene had a Virginia license plate. They believe it was driven there by Lineberry.

Sheriff Hutchison said Lineberry told investigators he was a homeless man from Virginia. But they found he is from Galax where he has a criminal history. He was charged Wednesday with first degree murder and may be charged in a Virginia murder as well.  

Hutchison said deputies struggled tasered Lineberry and took him into custody after a chase. Later, he was taken to St. Mary's Hospital and then to the Knox County Detention Facility where he is now being held.

According to school officials, security officers were posted in area schools to prevent vandalism on Halloween night. There were no students or staff at the school when the shooting occurred.

Kocur was from Texas. He had worked as the Halls security officer for two years.

Halls High School Principal Mark Duff tells 6 News Wednesday, "I knew Russell extremely well. I'm devastated by the circumstances, by the tragedy. I'm devastated for my kids. Russell was part of our family and that's how we're taking this, a great loss."

The principal describes Kocur as "...extremely rare for a man in his position, an excellent professional, a strict adherer to the law. But he cared a great deal about the kids. This came out in his day-to-day relationships with them."

A community wide memorial service is planned for Russell Kocur. It's at 7:00 Thursday night at Beaver Dam Baptist Church at 4328 East Emory Road.

6 News Reporter Amelia Daniels contributed to this report.

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