Murder suspect killed

KPD officers at the scene of one of the 37 — or was it 38? — homicides that took place last year in Knoxville. Source: KPD

A murder suspect who was being sought by police was found shot to death Monday night in East Knoxville.

Eric Bolden, 46, of Knoxville was found outside a residence in the 400 block of South Hembree Street when first responders were dispatched to the location for a reported shooting, according to Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Scott Erland. 

“Upon arrival, a male victim was found outside of a residence suffering from at least one gunshot wound. The victim was transported to the UT Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased,” Erland said in a press release.

“At the time of his death, Bolden was wanted on an outstanding warrant out of Knox County for second-degree murder in the shooting death of Lemuel Appling,” Erland said. 

Appling, 41, was a resident of Detroit, Michigan. He was found shot to death in the street in the 2900 block of Hillside Avenue on Oct. 28, 2020, police reports show.

Within two weeks of Appling’s death, investigators from KPD’s Violent Crimes Unit had identified Bolden as the killer and issued arrest warrants charging him with second-degree murder and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. 

Eric Bolden

“The investigation determined that the victim, who was previously identified as 41-year-old Lemuel Appling, and suspect were engaged in a verbal argument in the street outside of 2915 Hillside Avenue when Bolden displayed a firearm and shot the victim in the chest,” police reports state.

Dozens of Detroit residents have been killed, injured or arrested themselves for killing and wounding other people on the streets of Knoxville over the past few years. Many others have been arrested for trafficking in illegal drugs, primarily narcotic painkillers such as oxymorphone, heroin and fentanyl. 

Bolden was the 17th homicide in Knoxville so far this year, including the shooting death of Anthony Thompson Jr., 17, by police on April 12. There have been at least five more homicides in the unincorporated areas of the county under the jurisdiction of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

Anyone with information regarding the shooting is urged to call the KPD Crime and Drug Hotline at 865-215-7212. Tipsters can remain anonymous.

J.J. Stambaugh can be reached at 

Published on May 5, 2021