A truck driver went on a stabbing spree Tuesday morning at a highway truck stop in eastern Tennessee, killing three employees and wounding a customer before he was fatally shot by a law enforcement officer, the authorities said.
The attack happened just before 7 a.m. at a Pilot Travel Center off Interstate 40 in Knox County, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which did not immediately offer a motive for the stabbings.
The suspect, Idris Abdus-Salaam, 33, of Durham, N.C., was holding a knife and refused to drop it when law enforcement officers confronted him in the truck stop’s parking lot, the bureau said. One of the officers fired several shots at Mr. Abdus-Salaam, who died at the scene, according to the bureau. It did not say how many rounds hit Mr. Abdus-Salaam.
The three truck stop employees who were killed were Joyce Whaley, 57; Patricia Denise Nibbe, 51; and Nettie R. Spencer, 41, investigators said. All three women died at the scene. The condition of the fourth victim, who the authorities said was hospitalized and was a customer, was not released.
“We are devastated to confirm the loss of three team members and the injury of a guest after an act of violence at our Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, location this morning,” Jimmy Haslam, the chief executive of the Pilot Company, said in a statement. “It is with heavy hearts that we extend our deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of the victims.”
The truck stop is about 11 miles east of Knoxville and is right off Interstate 40, which cuts across the state from the Great Smoky Mountains in the east to Nashville in Middle Tennessee and Memphis in the west.
A spokeswoman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in an email on Tuesday evening that the victims had been targeted inside and outside the truck stop’s convenience store. The bureau said the attack was still under investigation.
Mr. Haslam, who also owns the Cleveland Browns, said the Pilot Company was providing support and counseling to the victims’ families and to the company’s employees.