Three women were fatally stabbed at a Pilot truck stop in Knox County early Tuesday morning before responding deputies confronted and killed the suspect, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
A fourth woman was transported to the hospital for treatment.
Just before 7 a.m., Knox Co. deputies were dispatched to the Pilot Travel Center on Strawberry Plains Pike on a reported stabbing.
When deputies arrived, they saw one woman with stab wounds in the parking lot and a man holding a knife. Witnesses identified that man as the suspect, according to TBI spokesperson Leslie Earhart.
Deputies confronted the suspect and demanded that he drop the knife and when he did not, according to TBI, the deputies shot him.
The suspect was killed. The TBI said some of the victims were employees of the store.
Investigators have not released the names of anyone involved.
A statement from Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam confirms that the three women who were killed were Pilot employees. The fourth victim was described as a guest.
“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,” according to the statement.
“Please keep these families in your thoughts and prayers.”
According to her pastor, one of the women killed was Joyce Whaley, a faithful and steadfast member of The Crossing Chuch in Kodak.
“One of the most caring people I’ve ever met,” said pastor Kermit McPeek.
McPeek said she loved her family so much, and he was with her husband when he got the news. In addition to her husband, McPeek said Whaley is survived by two daughters and two grandchildren.