KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas released a statement Saturday afternoon following the death of a 16-year-old Austin-East student on Friday.

That student, according to a release from Knoxville Police Department, was leaving school in his vehicle when shots were fired in the area of Tarleton Avenue. He was struck by at least one round before fleeing the scene and crashing on Wilson Avenue.

Bob Thomas released the following statement in response to this incident:

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of another young life to senseless gun violence. My thoughts and prayers are with the student’s family and the AE community. No student should ever feel they cannot safely get to/from school for fear of getting shot. We need community solutions.

Each school has a Crisis Response team made up of professionals trained to help with the needs of students and school personnel at difficult times such as this. These counselors will be available Monday at AE for any student who may want or need support.”

At this time, KPD says, the victim does not appear to have been the intended target of the shooting.

Investigators are specifically requesting that any Austin-East students or parents who may have witnessed the shooting or have information relevant to the investigation contact the Violent Crimes Unit by phone at 865-215-7330 or email at

The investigation is ongoing at this time.