A student died and a police officer suffered non-life-threatening injuries in a shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School in east Tennessee on Monday afternoon, the Knoxville Police Department confirmed.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David B. Rausch said during a news conference that Knoxville officers responded to the school at around 3:15 p.m. to a report of someone possibly armed with a gun. Upon arrival, the officers located an armed student inside a school restroom.
Officers reportedly ordered the student out of the restroom, but he refused to comply, the TV station reported.
The student fired on the officers as they entered the restroom, striking one officer, Rausch stated, confirming one officer returned fire on the student.
It remained unclear Monday night if the returned fire struck the student, WVLT reported.
The student, who has not been identified publicly, died at the school, while the injured officer was taken into surgery after being shot at least once in the upper leg, authorities confirmed to The Associated Press.
The officer is expected to recover, and no other injuries were reported.
Knox County Schools resumed in-person learning in January, but Austin-East Magnet High School reverted briefly to virtual instruction in February, following a series of off-campus shooting deaths that killed three of the school’s students within a three-week span. Two of those victims were 15, and the third was 16. The age of the student who died Monday has not been confirmed.
“I know that school is a safe place,” Kincannon said during a February news conference, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported. “It’s a place where people are learning. … The issues with violence are happening in the community, and it’s affecting kids when they’re outside of the school. That’s why we are focusing our efforts to protect the innocent, protect the school, protect the children and students and staff.”
Update 5:55 p.m. ET April 12: According to a statement issued by the police department at around 5:30 p.m., Knoxville officers responded to the school at around 3:15 p.m. for a report of a possibly armed male, and shots were fired as officers approached the suspect.
“One male was pronounced deceased at the scene, while another was detained for further investigation,” the department stated, noting an unidentified Knoxville police officer was also struck at least once by a bullet and transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
“There are no other known gunshot victims,” the department stated.
— Knoxville Police TN (@Knoxville_PD) April 12, 2021
It was not immediately clear if the individual detained by authorities was the suspected gunman for whom officers were originally called. Neither his nor the victim’s identity has been released.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will lead the investigation.
Our prayers are with our LEO family @Knoxville_PD especially the officer shot in the line of duty this afternoon. We wish him a full & speedy recovery! Additionally, we are praying for the entire Austin East Community this evening.
-Tom Spangler, Sheriff
— knoxsheriff (@knoxsheriff) April 12, 2021