KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Knoxville Police Department held a press conference Monday night following the fatal shooting that occurred at Austin-East Magnet High School.
During the press conference, the TBI identified the deceased gunshot victim as an Austin-East Magnet High School student.
According to the TBI’s preliminary investigation, around 3:15 p.m. Knoxville Police received a call for an individual possibly armed with a gun at Austin-East inside a school restroom. They ordered him out, but he refused to comply. As officers entered the restroom, the subject — identified as an Austin-East student, reportedly fired shots, striking an officer.
One officer returned fire. The student was pronounced dead at the scene.
KPD confirmed Officer Adam Willson, a 20-year veteran of the department who currently serves as the School Resource Officer at Austin-East, is recovering after undergoing surgery at UT Medical Center for a gunshot wound sustained while responding to the incident.
Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon said the officer was, “conscious and in good spirits” when she visited him at UT Medical Center late Monday.
“It was just very chilling, first of all, to hear we have an officer down, and secondly that it was at a school. It’s just, it’s a sad day for the Knoxville community, and our police department,” Chief Thomas said.
TBI Director David Rausch said that the agency’s investigation is in the early stages and also made a distinction between “school shooting” and shooting in the school:
“We have to be careful with our language… This wasn’t a school shooting. This was an officer-involved shooting inside a school.” Rausch said.
The TBI will continue to gather evidence as the investigation remains ongoing.
The TBI is the lead agency on the investigation. The Knoxville Police Department initially responded to the scene.