3 killed in knife attack were Pilot employees; dead suspect was trucker


The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has identified the three women killed in a knife attack at a Knoxville Pilot travel center as well as the suspect in the incident that occurred Tuesday, April 7, at about 7 a.m.

According to the TBI, the dead are:

  • Joyce Whaley
  • Patricia Denise Nibbe
  • Nettie R. Spencer

All were employees at the Pilot travel center. The fourth stabbing victim, who was a customer, remains hospitalized. She was not identified by the TBI.

The suspect, who was shot and killed by police, has been identified as Idris Abdus-Salaam, a truck driver from Durham, North Carolina.

A statement from the TBI says the Knox County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an incident at the Pilot Travel Center along Strawberry Plains Pike. Upon arrival, officers observed at least one person with stab wounds outside of the store. A man, armed with a knife and identified by witnesses as the suspect, was seen in the parking lot. Officers confronted the suspect who refused to drop the weapon. At some point during the encounter, one of the officers fired shots, striking the man. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a statement, Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam said:

“Today is a difficult day for the Pilot Company family. We are devastated to confirm the loss of three team members and the injury of a guest after an act of violence at our Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, location this morning.

“It is with heavy hearts that we extend our deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of the victims. We are providing support and counseling to the families and our team. We are working closely with local authorities.

“Please keep these families in your thoughts and prayers.”

Knoxville is home to Pilot’s corporate headquarters.

The TBI continues its investigation.