Riverside Drive shooting marks 27th deadly Knoxville shooting of 2021

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)– Following the deadly shooting of 34-year-old Matthew Scott found on Riverside Drive early Friday morning, there has now been 27 deadly shootings within the city limits of Knoxville in 2021, according to Knoxville Police.

Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Scott Erland said there have been 28 homicides this year, 27 involving gun violence.

The number of lives lost due to gun violence hasn’t gone unnoticed by the community either.

“It seems like everyday now there’s just more and more killings,” Craig Sanslow, a Knoxville resident, said.

Sanslow said he here’s gunshots in near his home often, but he doesn’t usually think anything of it. Not until he hears about another shooting that ended with a death.

“I know there are accidents that happen, but it feels like most of these, if not all of them could be prevented somehow,” Sanslow said.

Curtis Harris, another Knoxville resident, feels the same way. He knows from personal experience 2021 is one of the deadliest years he’s seen.

“1998 there was a lot of shootings. My son, my step son was one of the victims. Yeah, he was killed over here. What used to be Club Royal,” Harris said.

According to KPD, there were 35 homicides in 1998 and 25 of those were shootings.

Harris said what’s going on now is all too familiar from what happened back in 1998.

“It was the same situation, no one wanted to cooperate with police, you know, so the killer still hasn’t been found,” Harris said.

He said it’s sad to see that after all these years, a similar level of violence has returned.

“We’ve buried so many young people it just don’t make any sense to have to, children should bury their parents, parents shouldn’t have to bury their children,” Harris said.

Both Harris and Sanslow felt something can be done, but it starts with the community. They said people need to start talking with each other again.

“We can talk, we can have meetings and you know, all this stuff to try to get the community to react and be cooperative,” Harris said.

“More people out there and being positive about it, communication between the different, whether the departments of the government or city or whatever it is; and just the community themselves being, you know, communicate between your neighbor,” Sanslow said.

Harris said the community needs to step up and help out police. He said they can only do so much, and he’s tired of seeing people die and no justice served.

“You know, (police) try to do their job, but if they don’t have cooperation with witnesses and you know, anything like that, then it’s just all for nothing,” Harris said.

According to KPD, there were 34 deadly shootings in 2020. If the violence trend continues at the same rate so far this year, the number of deadly shootings in 2021 will surpass last year’s.

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