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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A man who was shot and killed after fatally stabbing three women and injuring a fourth at a Tennessee truck stop early Tuesday has been identified by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The suspect, Idris Abdus-Salaam, 33, was a truck driver from Durham, North Carolina.

The three deceased victims were all employed at the Pilot Travel Center on Strawberry Plains Pike. They have been identified as:

  • Joyce Whaley, 57
  • Patricia Denise Nibbe, 51
  • Nettie R. Spencer, 41

The fourth victim, who was a customer and has not been identified, remains hospitalized.

The report of a stabbing at the truck stop at 7210 Strawberry Plains Pike in Knoxville was made just before 7 a.m.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed that three women were killed and a fourth was transported to a nearby hospital.

The condition of the hospitalized individual was unknown as of Tuesday afternoon.

The stabbing suspect, Abdus-Salaam, was shot and killed by law enforcement, TBI spokesperson Leslie Earhart said.

Idris Abdus-Salaam of Durham, North Carolina. Abdus-Salaam is alleged to have fatally stabbed three workers at a Pilot Travel Center in East Knox County and injuring a customer before being shot and killed by a Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputy. (WNCN photo)

Officials say officers arriving on the scene first saw at least one person with stab wounds outside of the store. A man, armed with a knife and identified by witnesses as the suspect, was also in the parking lot.

Officers confronted Abdus-Salaam, who refused to drop the weapon. At some point during the encounter, one of the officers fired shots, striking him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pilot Company CEO Jimmy Haslam confirmed in a statement that all three victims were Pilot employees.

“Today is a difficult day for the Pilot Company family. 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. It is with heavy hearts that we extend our deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of the victims. We are providing support and counseling to the families and our team. We are working closely with local authorities. Please keep these families in your thoughts and prayers.”


The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will launch a probe into the officer-involved shooting. Knox County District Attorney Charme Allen released a statement about the decision for the TBI to take over the investigation.

“Historically, our policy has been for KPD to investigate any KCSO officer-involved shooting and KCSO to investigate any KPD officer-involved shooting. TBI has always investigated all in-custody deaths of inmates for our jurisdiction. Recently, in order to have uniform consistency in the investigation of these incidents, Chief Thomas, Sheriff Spangler, and I have discussed using the TBI for all officer-involved shootings. We have decided to follow the majority of our colleagues across the state, and I will now request that TBI conduct all of our officer-involved shootings for both KPD and KCSO.”