KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus police were making their nightly rounds Tuesday when they came across a moving tribute to a Knox County deputy who died in the line of duty.
The Rock, located at the intersection of Volunteer Boulevard and Pat Head Summitt Street, has served as a public on-campus message board for over 50 years. UT Police on their nightly patrol when they spotted students painting it in honor of Tucker Blakely, a 29-year-old Knox County deputy who died after being shot while responding to a domestic incident late Sunday.
“Sometimes on nightshift you see something that catches your eye… in this case, our very own UT-Knoxville students showing love for Knox County SO fallen deputy Tucker Blakely,” the department wrote on X, the platform formally known as Twitter. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. -Matthew 5:9.”
Tributes to Blakely have poured in from across the state since his death was announced Tuesday night by Sheriff Tom Spangler. A procession including dozens of law enforcement units escorted his body from UT Medical Center to a funeral home in Powell Tuesday afternoon.
Blakely graduated from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office Regional Training Academy in November 2021. He was a graduate of Powell High School and a U.S. Army Veteran. He is survived by his wife Katarina and five-year-old son.