Three workers fatally stabbed at Knoxville truck stop, suspect shot and killed

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Authorities say a North Carolina truck driver was shot and killed by a Knox County deputy after fatally stabbing three women and hospitalizing a fourth at a Pilot Travel Center near an Interstate-40 exit on Tuesday.

The truck drivers was identified by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation as Idris Abdus-Salaam, 33, of Durham, North Carolina.

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The three woman fatally stabbed were all employees at the Pilot Travel Center on Strawberry Plains Pike at Interstate 40 in East Knox County. They have been identified as:

  • Joyce Whaley, 57
  • Patricia Denise Nibbe, 51
  • Nettie R. Spencer, 41

The TBI announced Wednesday that the fourth victim, who was a customer and has not been identified, was released from the hospital.

The report of a stabbing at the truck stop at 7210 Strawberry Plains Pike was made just before 7 a.m.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed three female victims were fatally stabbed and another woman was transported to a nearby hospital.

The condition of the hospitalized individual is unknown at the time.

The stabbing suspect, Abdus-Salaam, was shot and killed by law enforcement, TBI spokesperson Leslie Earhart said.

Idris Abdus-Salaam of Durham, North Carolina. Abdus-Salaam is alleged to have fatally stabbed three workers at a Pilot Travel Center in East Knox County and injuring a customer before being shot and killed by a Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputy.. (WNCN photo)

Upon arrival, officers observed at least one person with stab wounds outside of the store. A man, armed with a knife and identified by witnesses as the suspect, was also observed in the parking lot.

Officers confronted the individual who refused to drop the weapon. At some point during the encounter, one of the officers fired shots, striking the man. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pilot Company CEO Jimmy Haslam confirmed in a statement that all three victims were Pilot employees.

“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.”

Pilot Company CEO Jimmy Haslam

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will launch a probe into the officer-involved shooting. Knox County District Attorney Charme Allen released a statement about the decision for the TBI to take over the investigation.

“Historically, our policy has been for KPD to investigate any KCSO officer-involved shooting and KCSO to investigate any KPD officer-involved shooting. TBI has always investigated all in-custody deaths of inmates for our jurisdiction. Recently, in order to have uniform consistency in the investigation of these incidents, Chief Thomas, Sheriff Spangler, and I have discussed using the TBI for all officer-involved shootings. We have decided to follow the majority of our colleagues across the state, and I will now request that TBI conduct all of our officer-involved shootings for both KPD and KCSO.”

Knox County District Attorney Charme Allen

Watch TBI Public Information Officer Leslie Earhart’s full update from the scene here:

This is a developing story and we’ll continue to update the details as they become available.

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