Authorities say they are working on determining a motive for a horrendous, violent action yesterday. Idris Abdus-Salaam, a 33-year-old man from North Carolina, stopped at the Pilot in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee (just outside Knoxville, Tennessee), and proceeded to murder three female employees and severely wound another female customer.
Idris Abdus-Salaam was shot and killed by deputies two minutes after receiving the emergency call, but there has been no other information released concerning his dastardly act.
Many people have speculated on whether this was a hate crime, since all of the victims were white, or if it was based on jihad, and the killer chose his female victims because he was a coward and bully.
The Knox News Sentinel reported on the facts that have been released:
Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a reported stabbing at the Pilot Travel Center on Strawberry Plains Pike to find three people dead and a fourth wounded before killing the armed attacker at the scene Tuesday morning.
Here’s what we know:
All three people killed were employees at the travel center, Pilot Company CEO Jimmy Haslam confirmed. The fourth victim, who survived the attack, was a customer.
The attacker, who was armed with a knife, evidently did not work for Pilot, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Leslie Earhart said.
Three Pilot employees died at the scene. They are Joyce Whaley, 57; Patricia Denise Nibbe, 51; and Nettie R. Spencer, 41.
A fourth victim, a female customer, remains hospitalized. Her condition was not immediately available Tuesday night.
The attack was reported at 6:54 a.m. at 7210 Strawberry Plains Pike, according to Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler.
Responding deputies arrived at 6:56 a.m. and found the four victims, both inside and outside the store. They confronted the suspect, who was armed with a knife, in the parking lot, and shot him dead after he refused to drop the weapon.
Authorities are working to determine why the man launched the attack, as well as whether he knew any of his victims. He has been identified by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation as Idris Abdus-Salaam, a 33-year-old truck driver from Durham, North Carolina.
So far, investigators have yet to announce any motive or whether there is any connection between the suspect and any of the victims.
Pilot Company is based in nearby Knoxville. After the attack, CEO Haslam was at the scene at the travel center to converse with police.
He released a statement on the afternoon of the attack that reads, in part, “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.”