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Tennessee officials speak out following fatal Austin East shooting

Police confirm one male victim has died as a result of the shooting.
Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 6:10 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 12, 2021 at 11:22 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee officials are speaking out following a fatal shooting at Austin East High School Monday afternoon.

Police confirmed one male victim has died as a result of the shooting. Police said an officer was also shot during the incident. The officer is in stable condition and recovering following surgery at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Governor Bill Lee asked Tennesseans to ‘pray for the families and victims,” impacted by the shooting.

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs released a statement expressing his condolences:

I am as troubled and frustrated about this as everyone else. I want to thank the officer for risking his life to protect everyone in the school and encourage everyone to remember how hard these last few months have been on our Austin-East families. I also want to reiterate that my office is committed to working with the city, KPD, KCSO and KCS to find solutions to these tragic situations.

“It’s been a tragic day,” Jacobs said. “Our prayers are with the victims, students and staff.”

Mayor Kincannon commended Austin-East School staff for their work to protect students: She also praised the officer who was shot on the scene for risking his life for the safety of the students.

“We all need to work together to stop the violence,” Kincannon said. “It’s a big challenge and we’re going to need the whole city to work together.”

State Representative Sam McKenzie, a graduate of Austin-East, released the following statement:

“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 called for a moment of silence during the Tennessee House of Representatives session.

Representative Tim Burchett said he is closely monitoring the situation and said the officer injured during the shooting is in his prayers.

Senator Marsha Blackburn said she is “heartbroken” over the situation:

Senator Bill Hagerty released the following statement:

“After hearing about the shooting, my heart goes out to Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville. My staff & I continue to monitor the situation, & will provide any assistance necessary. As parents, Chrissy & I are praying for the students, families, & the officer injured.”

Knoxville Bishop Richard F. Stika released the following statement:

“Once again and regrettably, I am asking for prayers for the victims of another terrible shooting in Knoxville. I have been monitoring today’s unfortunate and violent incident and offer my personal prayers for all of the victims, including a law enforcement officer. The series of tragic events that has taken place in recent weeks in Knoxville, especially involving the Austin-East community, and those that have taken place throughout the United States, demonstrate that violence in our society remains a serious, almost daily occurrence and that it claims victims in many different ways. As a nation, we must commit ourselves to work to turn away from violence and find real solutions that lead us to love, compassion, and decency. As Bishop of the Diocese of Knoxville, I pledge to do what I can to help. Prayers are important, but communities must come together to find positive solutions to this ongoing problem in our country.”

Senator Becky Duncan Massey release the following statement:

“No words can express my sadness regarding another senseless shooting @AustinEastHS this afternoon and another student who has been killed. Thanks to all of the @Knoxville_PD and @KnoxvilleFire and the staff who helped control the situation and keep other students safe.”

In a statehouse hearing Monday, April 12, Senator Massey lead a prayer for Austin-East:

Dear Heavenly Father, we come to you today with heavy hearts, and just prayers for this community that has been so wracked with violence in these last few months for. We don’t understand what’s happening will work but we just pray for healing for the community healing for the families that had been affected by this senseless violence prayers for healing for the police officer that was shot today but is at the hospital with a non fatal illness, injury, and his prayer for everybody that the trauma that the, the faculty and the staff have gone through in ministering to the students but being in the middle of the work with a gun man in the school today. Lord I just pray for the end to the violence. It can’t in too soon and healing for our community. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen

Republican Chuck Fleischmann released the following statement:

Horrible news. Please keep the Knoxville community, the students and faculty of Austin-East Magnet High School, and the injured police officer in your prayers.

University of Tennessee Athletic Director Danny White released the following statement:

Thoughts & prayers tonight for the Austin-East community.

University of Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman released the following statement:

The shootings today at Austin-East are heartbreaking. We pray for peace and an end to the violence in what should be the safest places in our community - the schools.

Tennessee Dept. of Education released a statement following the shooting:

As details continue to emerge, our thoughts are with Austin East Magnet High School and those school community members who have been affected by the shooting that took place this afternoon. The department stands ready to support.

Knox County Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas released a statement following the shooting:

This evening, TBI confirmed that an Austin-East High School student was killed in today’s shooting. We are cooperating with TBI as the investigation is ongoing. We continue to keep the school community in our thoughts and prayers as we grieve the losses they have endured. I also want to express my gratitude to KPD and other law enforcement officers who responded quickly to this dangerous situation, and our prayers are with the KPD officer who was wounded.

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