Suspect in Knoxville truck stop stabbings was a former correctional officer in North Carolina

Local News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – The 33-year-old Durham, North Carolina, man who authorities said stabbed four people at an east Knox County truck stop served as a correctional officer in North Carolina until last year.

Idris Abdus-Salaam in an April 2018 mugshot out of Wake County. (Raleigh/Wake CCBI)

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Idris Abdus-Salaam stabbed and killed Joyce Whaley, 57, Patricia Nibbe, 51, and Nettie Spencer, 41, at a truck stop at the Strawberry Plains Pike exit of Interstate 40 near the Sevier County line.

RELATED: Families remember victims of stabbing at Pilot Travel Center

A fourth victim was also stabbed and was taken to the hospital. Authorities confirmed on Wednesday the fourth victim had been released from the hospital.

Salaam was shot and killed by police following the stabbings.

Nettie Spencer’s cousin told CBS 17’s sister station that she was full of life, loved her family, and she was kind to everyone.

“To have her life cut short like that is just unfair,” said Samantha Collins, Spencer’s cousin.

Investigators in Tennessee said a motive is still not clear.

In Durham, a neighbor confirmed to CBS 17 that Salaam had lived at the Republic Flats on Finsbury Street.

A neighbor who did not want to appear on camera told CBS 17 that Salaam was a quiet individual who kept to himself.

Another neighbor, Sheis Sheikh, told CBS 17 he couldn’t believe that someone who lived across the hall from him would commit this crime.

“It’s shocking, it’s surprising and it’s unthought of,” Sheikh said. “I never thought this could happen with someone so close.”

CBS 17 did some digging into Salaam’s history.

According to court records, Salaam was arrested in Raleigh in April 2018 for eluding police.

Salaam also pleaded guilty to a charge in Orange County for resisting a public officer in 2010.

CBS 17 also uncovered that Salaam worked as a correctional officer in Raleigh for the Department of Public Safety from August 2014 to May 2019.

But a DPS spokesperson could not say why Salaam left his position.


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