Bloodshed intensifies in recent days

0
2151

It really seemed like things might be getting better. 

Despite a record-breaking number of homicides in Knoxville last year, there had been noticeably less bloodshed on city streets so far in 2022.

Then October hit, and for some reason the bullets started flying. They haven’t stopped yet. 

In fact — for the second time in only four days — a triple shooting in a public place cut short a human life early Sunday morning.

This time the blood flowed at the El Pulpo Loco nightclub at 2909 Alcoa Highway.

Two males — ages and names unknown — were gunned down in the parking lot around 2:30 a.m. One of them was pronounced dead at the scene, and the other was reportedly fighting for his life at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

While Knoxville Police Department officers were processing the crime scene, a third gunshot victim turned up at “an area hospital with a gunshot wound that is not believed to be life-threatening,” according to KPD spokesperson Scott Erland. 

The victim’s death marked Knoxville’s 29th homicide so far this year.

Investigators from KPD’s Violent Crimes Unit located several possible witnesses and were questioning them at the department’s headquarters in the Public Safety Building. 

El Pulpo Loco was the scene of another bloody shootout last month that left two men hospitalized and two others jailed. 

Historically, when a nightclub or other business has been the scene of multiple violent crimes, local police have worked with prosecutors from the District Attorney General’s Office to shut it down. 

Erland didn’t respond to a Sunday email asking if such a move was being contemplated for El Pulpo Loco. 

The week’s other triple shooting took place Thursday in a residential neighborhood in East Knoxville.

Around noon, someone opened fire on two people who were on the front porch of a house at 2509 Parkview Avenue. They were both hit, as was an elderly man who lived a couple of doors down from the targeted house.

Stephen Lundy, 20, and Kamya Myers, also 20, were rushed to UTMC after the shooting. Lundy was pronounced dead when he reached the hospital, while Myers and 88-year-old Ralph Moore were treated for “non-life-threatening injuries,” according to Erland. 

“Lundy and Myers were shot by an unidentified suspect or suspects while on the porch of the home at 2509 Parkview Avenue,” the spokesperson said. “Investigators do not believe that the shooting was random and suspect that it was connected to several recent shootings in Knoxville. Moore, who resides a couple of houses away from where the shooting occurred, was struck by an apparent stray round.”

Erland, however, declined to specify which “recent shootings” the fracas on Parkview Avenue was related to. There’s been no shortage of possible candidates— two other gun homicides occurred in Knoxville just last week, and that’s not counting the dozens of other shootings that were already being pursued by investigators.

“We are down a bit on gun homicides this year,” said Erland. “Prior to the one early this morning on Alcoa Highway, gun homicides were down a little over 21 percent compared to the same time in 2021. The numbers were trending down even further prior to this recent jump over the past couple weeks, unfortunately.”

Knoxville — like other cities across the country — has struggled in recent years with a surge in violent crime.  Last year, there was a total of between 43 and 45 slayings, depending on how the numbers are compiled. Either way, it was the highest number of homicides in the city’s history.

Anyone with information that could assist with the investigations into any of the recent shootings is asked to contact East Tennessee Valley Crime Stoppers at 865-215-7165 or online at www.easttnvalleycrimestoppers.org. Tipsters can remain anonymous and be eligible to receive a cash reward.

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

Published on October 17, 2022.