Killings continue

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No signs of violence were visible Saturday at the scene of a fatal shooting that took place overnight at this address on Hilton Road. Photo by J.J. Stambaugh

Knoxville’s 31st homicide of 2021 took place Friday night on an industrial side street in West Knoxville, authorities said.

Although police said they have identified everyone involved in the fatal shooting and they were “all accounted for,” no charges had been filed as of Saturday evening. 

The incident was reported about 8:20 p.m. Friday as “a shooting with a victim” at 1212 Hilton Road, according to Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Scott Erland. 

Police arrived to find a male victim suffering from at least one gunshot wound, Erland said. An ambulance rushed him to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where he died shortly after midnight. 

“Based on the preliminary investigation, the victim and suspect were known to one another. All involved parties are accounted for, and no charges have been filed at this time,” he said.  

Authorities didn’t say exactly where the crime scene was. The street cuts north through a mainly industrial area off Middlebrook Pike, and the address given for the shooting belongs to a freight company. The Middlebrook Inn, a single-story residential motel, sits at the nearby intersection of Middlebrook and Hilton. 

Like most cities in the United States, Knoxville has struggled with rising violent crime rates over the past couple of years.

There are several ways to look at the numbers, but they all paint the same grim picture: 2021 is on track to be the bloodiest year since Knoxville began keeping crime statistics.  

The unprecedented rise in the homicide rate began when the number of killings shot up from 22 in 2019 to 37 in 2020, a 72 percent increase. Prior to 2020, the bloodiest year on record had been when 35 people were killed in 1998.

Since Jan. 1, there have been at least 31 slayings in the city, plus at least five more homicides in the unincorporated areas of Knox County under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Office. That’s a 41 percent increase from this time in 2020, when 22 people had been killed as of August 23.

J.J. Stambaugh can be reached at jjstambaugh@hardknoxwire.com 

Published on August 23, 2021.