Officer-involved shooting in Knoxville triple stabbing was justifiable, perpetrator acted alone

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The officer-involved shooting of a man who fatally stabbed three people at a Knoxville truck stop in April was justified, The Knox County District Attorney announced Monday.

Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen announced Monday that Knox County Deputy Jordan Horst used justifiable force when he shot and killed Idris Abdus-Salaam, 33, while responding to the scene of a fatal triple stabbing at the Pilot Travel Center on Strawberry Plains Pike.

Investigators determined Abdus-Salaam acted alone, District Attorney Allen said Monday. He was described as a paranoid individual with his sister and girlfriend telling investigators he was prone to isolate himself for days or weeks at a time. Allen described him as “angry at all people in general” and said he did not specifically target the victims.

His Google search and document history showed writings expressing violent contempt for all people and law enforcement. Abdus-Salaam resigned from his job as a corrections officer with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety in May of 2019 after he was reprimanded for an altercation with another employee the previous year. He then quickly moved to try and get his job as a corrections officer back.

After he resigned in May 2019, he worked as a truck driver for Swift Trucking for about nine months.

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)

Ten days before the fatal stabbings, he received final notice that he would not be rehired by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. He then terminated his lease at his North Carolina apartment.

Security footage from the truck stop showed truckers in the store spraying Salaam with fire extinguishers in an attempt to subdue him. He was also struck multiple times by a vehicle but continued to perpetrate the attacks.

Allen also confirmed Abdus-Salaam was not the perpetrator of an October 2019 stabbing at a mental healthcare facility in West Tennessee. GPS data from Abdus-Salaam’s truck showed he drove between Kentucky and Illinois on the day of the crime.


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