One student dead, officer injured in shooting at high school in Tennessee, police say

Chacour Koop, Mitchell Willetts
·3 min read

A student was killed and a police officer injured in a shooting at a Tennessee high school, officials say.

The shooting was at Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville about 3:15 p.m. Monday. A Knoxville Police Department officer responding to a report of a “possibly armed” person was shot.

“Upon approach of the subject, shots were fired,” police said “A KPD officer was struck at least one time.”

Authorities were tipped off about an armed student, and two officers found the student in a school bathroom, David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said. Officers told the student to exit the bathroom and he refused, opened fire and hit one of the officers. The other officer fired back, striking the student, who was not identified.

Police said there were no other known gunshot victims.

Rausch said it is too early in the investigation to say for certain what the student was planning to do.

The injured officer was shot in the upper leg and is in serious condition, Knoxville police chief Eve Thomas said. The officer was undergoing surgery as Thomas spoke at the 8 p.m. news conference.

“It was very chilling, first of all to hear we have an officer down, and second to hear it was at a school,” Thomas said.

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Multiple agencies were at the school investigating the shooting, including special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Nashville. A medical examiner’s office vehicle was seen leaving the school after the shooting, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon told WVLT the injured officer was conscious and recovering at a hospital.

“He said he’d rather be hurt than anybody else,” Kincannon told the CBS affiliate.

A reunification site had been established at a baseball field behind the high school, officials say.

Knoxville County Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas tweeted the district was gathering information about the “tragic situation.”

“The school building has been secured and students who were not involved in the incident have been released to their families,” Thomas tweeted.

Austin-East High School is a performing arts magnet school that offers dance, music, audio production, art and theater programs, according to the district website.

The school recently updated its security plan. It included:

• Another security officer was added Feb. 22 in addition to the previously assigned security officer and school resource officer.

• On March 8, the school implemented a policy prohibiting solid backpacks, fanny packs, purses, reusable grocery totes, gym or duffle bags and large solid bags. Approved bags included only clear or mesh backpacks and small clutch purses.

• Random searches during the spring semester.

• A re-emphasis on a hotline to report concerns.

The school district has about 58,000 students.