Tennessee shooter was motivated by police killings

A gunman who shot two women and then engaged in a shootout with police early Thursday morning in Tennessee was upset about recent police shootings of black men. The investigation is still ongoing but the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations published a statement on its website offering an apparent motive for the crime:

Preliminarily, the investigation reveals [Lakeem Keon] Scott may have targeted individuals and officers after being troubled by recent incidents involving African-Americans and law enforcement officers in other parts of the country.

Scott, who is black, shot the front desk clerk at a Days Inn. He then shot at passing motorists on the highway, striking and killing a mother-of-two. The Associated Press reports:

The front desk clerk, Deborah Watts, was struck and injured. Days Inn owner Kiran Patel said he awoke to the sound of gunfire. His wife called the front desk to see what happened, Watts answered and said she’d been shot. She remains in the hospital in serious but stable condition.

The gunman then turned his fire to cars passing on the highway, investigators say.

Newspaper carrier Jennifer Rooney, a 44-year-old mother of two, was on her way to pick up papers for the morning delivery when a bullet struck her. The Bristol Herald-Courier reported that her car careened over a median and crashed through a chain link fence.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations describes what happened next:

Scott also appears to have, at some point, indiscriminately fired at several vehicles driving on Volunteer Parkway before being confronted by officers from the Bristol, Tennessee police department. During that exchange, the investigation shows Scott fired at the three responding officers, after which the officers returned fire, striking Scott, who was subsequently transported to Bristol Regional Medical Center, where at the time of this release, he remains in serious, but stable, condition.

One of the officers was hit in the leg during the shootout but his wound was described as superficial. He was treated and released from the hospital. All of the individuals shot by Scott were white.

The Tennessee shooting took place early Thursday morning, less than 24-hours before the sniper attack in Dallas, Texas that left five police officers dead and six more wounded. Shooter Micah Xavier Johnson was in a stand off with police early Friday morning during which he expressed his anger over recent shootings by police and said he wanted to kill more white police officers.

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