KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A carjacking suspect is in custody after aseveral days of searching near New Market.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were alerted around 7 a.m. Thursday about a potential sighting of the Knoxville carjacking suspect on U.S. Route 11E.
Deputies, constables and New Market Police officers were able to form a perimeter and spotted the potential suspect in a lot on Whittaker Road but lost him in a wooded area due to thick foliage and fog. Two K-9 units were also unsuccessful in tracking the suspect.
Once the fog cleared aviation units from the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, thermal imaging and tear gas were deployed in the area where deputies were unable to reach.
While the search was ongoing deputies were sent to nearby New Market Elementary until students were dismissed as a precaution.
“We had alerted the director of schools the night before and worked with him overnight to formulate a plan to ensure the safety of students and faculty that day at New Market Elementary and Rush Strong as well, as we knew the suspect was possibly still in the area,” the social media update from JCSO states.
A second on-foot search of the area by JCSO, Jefferson City and White Pine Police, and THP officer began around 4:30 p.m. but was also unsuccessful. After five-and-a-half hours the search was called off.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says they are still patrolling the area and are asking residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious people in the area.
The search and investigation are still ongoing as of Friday morning.