On Monday, authorities in Tennessee provided new information and video related to a multiple-stabbing and officer-involved shooting incident at a Pilot truck stop location in Knoxville earlier this year.
Four Women Stabbed At Pilot Location In April
The stabbing happened on the morning of April 7, 2020 at the Pilot Travel Center off I-40 in Knoxville, Tennessee.
A 33 year old North Carolina-based truck driver named Idris Abdus-Salaam was shot to death by police after he refused to drop a knife when confronted by police in the truck stop parking lot.
Abdus-Salaam previously stabbed four women at the truck stop. Three of the women — Joyce Whaley, 57, Patricia Denise Nibbe, 51, and Nettie R. Spencer, 41 –were Pilot employees who passed away from their injuries. A fourth woman who was a customer survived the attack.
D.A. Says Trucker Acted Alone, Had Plans With Escort
For months, investigators with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Knox County District Attorney’s Office have been working to determine why Abdus-Salaam attacked the women.
Here are three key takeaways from Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen, who held a press conference to update the public on the progress of the investigation.
- Investigators believe that Abdus-Salaam worked alone and that the attack was not a part of any coordinated effort.
- The motive for the attack is still murky, but DA’s office says Abdus-Salaam was “an angry paranoid individual” who talked about an urge to kill.
- The use of lethal force against Abdus-Salaam is considered to be justified and no charges will be filed against the police officer who took his life.
Other insights revealed by Allen during the press conference include:
- Abdus-Salaam worked for Swift Transportation for nine months. Prior to that, he was a corrections officer.
- Abdus-Salaam was under investigation by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety for becoming involved in an altercation with a co-worker while he was employed as a corrections officer. Abdus-Salaam resigned due to the investigation, then immediately tried to get his job back.
- Ten days before the Pilot attack, Abdus-Salaam received final notice that he would not be re-hired as a corrections officer. The DA’s office believes that this was a triggering factor in the attack.
- Abdus-Salaam has never been diagnosed or treated for mental health issues, though his sister and girlfriend urged him to get help.
- Abdus-Salaam arrived at the Pilot on April 6 between 2 and 4 p.m. and stayed in the truck most of the day, though he did enter the store around 5 p.m. He did not have any arguments with anyone in the truck stop.
- After getting off the phone with his girlfriend on the evening of April 6, Abdus-Salaam used a service called “Escort Alligator” to look for an escort for the evening. He took a Lyft to meet the escort at a nearby Days Inn hotel.
- The escort later told investigators that Abdus-Salaam was aggressive towards her until she said that she was a Muslim. Later, the escort gave Abdus-Salaam a ride back to his truck for an extra $20.
- Abdus-Salaam set up a second meeting with the escort for the night of April 7.
- On the morning of April 7, Abdus-Salaam entered the store three separate times. He was initially attempting to obtain a shower, but the scheduling app wasn’t working for him so staffers were helping him.
- The stabbings began shortly after Abdus-Salaam finished his shower, went back to his truck, and changed his pants.
- The first victim was killed in a ladies restroom.
- The second victim was killed in the kitchen.
- The third victim was killed near the front door of the store.
- The fourth victim was yanked out of her personal vehicle while she was on the phone with 911.
- Abdus-Salaam was chased by truckers in the parking lot who sprayed him with a fire extinguisher.
- Abdus-Salaam was struck by an employee’s vehicle in the parking lot multiple times but did not drop the knife.
- A police officer commanded Abdus-Salaam to drop the knife multiple times before he was fatally shot.
Using 23 different cameras, the DA’s office was able to create a 13 minute video of the moments leading up to the stabbings as well as the attacks themselves. Because of the graphic nature of the video, the camera turns away briefly to avoid showing the actual stabbings.