UT students paint the Rock in honor of fallen deputy
Tucker Blakely, a deputy with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, lost his life after being shot in the line of duty.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - East Tennessee is mourning the loss of a Knox County deputy. Tucker Blakely, a deputy with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, lost his life after being shot in the line of duty.
Previous Coverage: ‘A hero’ | Who was fallen Knox County Deputy Tucker Blakely?
There have been many gestures to honor the 29-year-old, including a memorial in Maynardville and several law enforcement departments wearing mourning badges.
Previous Coverage: Maynardville remembers fallen Knox County deputy
On Tuesday night, a group of University of Tennessee students also made an effort to honor Blakely by painting the Rock on campus.
The students spent around two hours and about $100 worth of spray paint to create the memorial. The bottom of the Rock shares the message, “God bless law enforcement,” with “Officer Blakely 1994-2023″ written on the side.
WVLT News caught up with the students who painted the Rock, who said they wanted to paint a positive message.
“After this unfortunate incident, I felt it was necessary to bring some emotion back and really support our officers because they’re looking out for us every day,” said Ryan Koproski, a junior at UT.
Koproski said when he drove past UT Medical Center on Monday night and saw the moving tribute East Tennessee law enforcement gave to Blakely, he felt moved to act.
“It was pretty heartbreaking to hear, especially in our community when you never really think this stuff is going to happen,” Koproski said. “And something crazy like this can happen at any moment, so it really resonated with me that nothing’s for granted with these officers putting their lives at risk every day.”
On Wednesday morning, hundreds if not thousands of students will walk past the Rock and remember Officer Tucker Blakely.
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