Two teens in custody after shots fired at Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputy, sheriff says

Two teens were taken into custody as part of an investigation after a Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputy was fired at, Sheriff Tom Spangler said.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office responded to a possible car burglary in the 3500 block of Wexgate Road in the Karns Community.
Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 3:03 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2023 at 4:10 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Two teen suspects accused of trying to steal cars and shooting at a Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputy in the Wexford Down area in Karns are now in custody, Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler announced Tuesday.

According to Spangler, the first deputy responded to the scene around 12:22 a.m. Monday morning and made contact with the first of the two suspects. That 17-year-old suspect then fired a gun at the deputy, Spangler said. He added that the shots did not hit the deputy, but did hit his cruiser.

“The sheriff’s office will not allow criminals, regardless of age, to create an unsafe environment for our officers or citizens,” Spangler said. “If you shoot at our officers, they will defend their lives and their community.”

The first suspect fled the scene, Spangler said, and after an initial investigation, deputies found that there had been another suspect in the area, also 17. Both of those suspects were taken into custody later Monday on car theft charges, Spangler said.

Spangler added that the car thefts stemmed from a TikTok challenge where people steal cars, drive them for a day or two, then leave the car. All in all, Spangler said, 12 cars were stolen and 30-40 burglarized as part of the challenge since August.

Neither of the suspects have been identified because they are teenagers. One of those suspects turned 18 the day after the incident, Spangler said.

The first teen was charged with criminal attempt to commit second-degree murder, prohibited possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony and property theft. The second suspect was charged with accessory after the fact, prohibited possession of a firearm and property theft.

Officials said that officers confronted two suspects, and at least one of the suspects fired at the officers.