Tennessee Highway Shooter ‘Troubled’ Over Police Shootings Of Blacks, Targeted Whites In Shooting Spree

On Friday, a man began indiscriminately shooting at passing vehicles as well as police officers on a Tennessee highway, which left one person dead and three others, including an officer, injured. Authorities investigating the incident say that the shooter was allegedly angry about the rash of police-involved violence against African-Americans.

In a press release following the shooting on the highway, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said their initial conversations with the suspected shooter, a 37-year-old man identified as Lakeem Keon Scott, revealed that his motivation was because he was troubled about the recent events regarding black people being shot and killed by the police across the United States. The TBI stated that the persons that Scott, who is a black man, shot are all white. Scott himself was also shot and injured by responding police and is currently still hospitalized.

The release that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation gave explain why the suspect is believed to have gone on his shooting spree.

“[The shooter] targeted individuals and officers after being troubled by recent incidents involving African-Americans and law enforcement officers in other parts of the country.”

WJHL reported that it was early Thursday morning that Lakeem Scott began firing shots at a motel in Bristol, Tennessee, and then began shooting randomly at several passing cars on the highway. The person who died as a result of Scott’s shooting spree was identified as Jennifer Rooney, who was killed while driving in her car on the Volunteer Parkway. Rooney was a Bristol Herald Courier newspaper carrier, and after being hit, it is said that her car careened over a median and ended up crashing through a chain link fence.

The injury of the police officer by Scott occurred when three police officers came to the scene of the shooting and were forced to engage in a shootout with the suspect. Officer Matthew Cousins reportedly sustained a superficial leg wound and has been treated and released from the Bristol Regional Medical Center.

The other civilians who were injured were Deborah Watts, who was shot during her work as the front desk clerk at the Days Inn and is reported to be in serious but stable condition, and David Whitman Davis, whose minor injuries were received as a result of being hit by flying glass caused by the gunfire.

The investigators have said that Scott “acted alone” during the highway shooting spree, which began at approximately 2:20 a.m. Thursday morning. The suspect came armed with at least two different weapons, an “automatic-style” assault rifle, a pistol, and quite a large supply of ammunition. According to Mashable, Scott has not been formally charged as yet for the shootings.

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This is the first of two shootings in mere hours that was reported to be a result of persons being “troubled” by the deaths of African-American citizens at the hands of police officers. The other shooting occurred in Dallas, Texas, where a former member of the Unites States Army, who is black, interrupted a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, shooting 12 police officers, five of whom later died as a result of their gunshot wounds. Reportedly, that shooter also proclaimed to be angry about the police fatally shooting black men and wanted to exterminate whites.

The Black Lives Matter protests revolved around the two black men killed within a day of each other by police officers; in the state of Louisiana, 37-year-old Alton Sterling was shot by officers while he was on the ground and being subdued, while in the state of Minnesota, Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black public school cafeteria supervisor, was killed by a police officer Wednesday night during a traffic stop. Both police-involved shootings were caught on video and a Minnesota prosecutor has vowed to make the investigation a top priority.

The FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), as well as local authorities, are all said to be collaborating on the investigation into the shooting on the Tennessee highway.

[Photo by Nick Ut/ AP Images]