KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tuesday marks one year since the death of Austin East student Anthony Thompson Jr.
The 17-year-old was shot and killed in a scuffle with Knoxville Police officers inside a school bathroom.
Knoxville NAACP president and local pastor Sam Brown saw the first responders and heard the noise, but didn’t expect something had happened within the walls of the high school.
“When it came to my attention that this was something that happened in the school, it hurt me because I just could think about how that is now going to change the outlook of the school now on the persons who attend there and the people in this community,” Brown said.
Thompson’s mom took us back to the moment one year ago.
“The most pain I’ve ever felt in my life, and I lost both parents, but to lose a child, there’s absolutely no comparisons,” Chanada Robinson said.
Last year, after a growing demand from the public to release body camera footage inside the school bathroom, Knox County DA Charme Allen did. She revealed Thompson brought a gun into the school building, and that she would not charge the officers who were there.
The shooting capped off a string of deadly violence against other neighborhood teens.
“We must come together and move forward and remain committed to the plan of progress,” Brown said. “I would really like to see throughout the city a more holistic participation in the conversation surrounding gun violence and also security in schools. That is something we need everybody to chime in on, because your experience may not be someone else’s experience, but it still affects us as a community.”
On Monday, Robinson filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court. She’s suing the city, county, school system and the four officers involved. She said doing it just shy of the anniversary was intentional, so she could take Tuesday to just be with family.