Security increased at New Market schools amid search for suspect in Jefferson County

Local News

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Security has been increased at two New Market schools as deputies search for a dangerous suspect who forced a Knoxville woman at gunpoint to drive him before stealing the car, abandoning it in Jefferson County and attempting a second carjacking. New Market Elementary and Rush Strong School have implemented safety protocols, along with additional support from the sheriff’s office.

Earlier Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Coffey encouraged residents and parents in the Friends Station, Lowery Loop, Whittaker, and Rocky Valley Road areas to exercise caution and parents to use precaution as their kids walk to bus stops and prepare to arrive for the first day of school.

A 20-year-old woman told investigators she was sitting in the parking lot of a South Knoxville Planet Fitness on Wednesday when a male suspect broke her passenger side window and pointed a handgun at her.

The suspect entered the vehicle and demanded she drive him to a location. She later fled from the vehicle to get help. The suspect then fled north on Sevier Avenue in the victim’s vehicle. The vehicle was later located in Jefferson County near 11E and Whitaker Road.

The suspect was reportedly seen fleeing from the area after attempting to carjack a second motorist.

The suspect was described as a 40-50 year-old white male with a dark hair, tanned skin and a pronounced widow’s peak hairline. He had on a green/blue-colored flannel with a white tank top underneath, dirty blue jeans and blue aviator sunglasses.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department advised residents on Whitaker Road, Lowery Loop Road, Rainbow Lane, Rocky Valley Road and Friends Station Road to be on the lookout.

WATE 6 On Your Side has reached out to Jefferson County Schools and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office for more information on those safety protocols at the schools and the potential suspect.

This is a developing story. Download the WATE 6 News app for updates sent to your phone.

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