Photo Credit: Knox County Schools
Published April 16, 2021
The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, currently investigating the shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School, has released a statement saying the officer wounded in the incident was not shot by the student’s gun.
After an armed student was confronted at the school, there was a struggle that led to the officer being shot in the leg. According to TBI, the student’s gun was fired before he was shot by police.
It was initially believed that the student’s gun wounded the officer, but the Bureau released an updated statement to say, “Preliminary examinations indicate the bullet that struck the KPD officer was not fired from the student’s handgun.”
“The TBI has confirmed the student who died during Monday’s incident as Anthony J. Thompson, Jr. (DOB 12/1/2003). Additionally, as the investigation continues, and as TBI agents learn more about the set of events that unfolded at Austin-East Magnet High School Monday afternoon, the Bureau would like to update the set of events as we understand them at this time,” the update said.
An earlier report had said that the Austin-East student “reportedly fired shots, striking an officer.” The officer was then rushed to the hospital in serious condition.
David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said during the initial report that the officers were the first to engage.
He said, “This wasn’t a school shooting. This was an officer-involved shooting inside of a school.”
Several students from the high school, both current and former, have been killed in gun-related incidents. One former student, state representative Sam McKenzie, released a statement to address the shooting.
“I am at a loss to describe my sadness as yet another horrific act of gun violence has happened in my community. Austin-East High School is my alma mater and my heart goes out to the students, faculty and staff that were present for the senseless shooting today. I do not have the necessary words to convey my thoughts about the spiraling violent acts conducted by members of my community on members of my community. I am asking everyone that knows and loves East Knoxville to pray and contemplate the lives we have lost,” McKenzie said in the statement.
Monday was the start of Knoxville’s National Youth Violence Prevention Week, a program meant to decrease crime among young people.
Rausch said, “This is a tough way to start a week that you’re focusing on trying to keep people safe.”
Austin-East was closed on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and the school board made the decision on Wednesday to extend the closure until Monday, April 19th. Virtual classes will be held on April 20th, with students returning to the building on Wednesday the 21.
Knox County Schools took to Twitter to say, “This decision was made in an effort to be supportive of the school community and to provide an opportunity for healing in light of recent events.”
The TBI has said that all “findings will be shared with the District Attorney General throughout the investigative process, which remains active and ongoing.”