Shots fired, guard hurt in UTMC garage

An aerial photograph from the University of Tennessee Medical Center’s web site.

Police are investigating a Monday night confrontation between private security guards and an unidentified female driver in a garage at the University of Tennessee Medical Center that led to gunfire and one of the guards being hurt.

The security guard was treated at UTMC immediately following the 8:45 p.m. incident for “non-life-threatening injuries,” according to Knoxville Police Department spokesman Scott Erland.

“I’m not sure if he remains hospitalized as of this moment, but he was still being treated as of 1:30 a.m. this morning,” Erland said today.

According to Erland, the incident occurred when security guards spotted a suspicious vehicle in one of the hospital’s parking garages.

“Uniformed security officers were patrolling the parking garage when a suspicious vehicle was observed,” Erland said. “As security officers attempted to make contact with the occupants of the vehicle, the female driver fled in the vehicle and struck one of the security officers. At this time, two security officers fired their service weapons at the vehicle.”

Erland said the vehicle was described as a “white Buick SUV” and it appeared that it “was struck at least one time.”

KPD officers recovered the suspect’s abandoned vehicle a short time later in the 1600 block of Clinch Avenue in the Fort Sanders neighborhood, Erland said. 

KPD officers tried to find the driver overnight but were unsuccessful, he said.

“At this time, there are no suspects in custody and no known gunshot victims,” Erland said. 

KPD was in charge of probing the incident because the security guards weren’t sworn police officers.

“That is …. why we are investigating the incident and not the TBI, as would be standard protocol for an officer-involved shooting,” he said. 

When asked whether security cameras might have recorded the alleged hit-and-run and shooting, he replied: “I’m unaware if there was video capturing the event, but we are doing our due diligence to collect all evidence relevant to the case and investigation.” 

KPD Violent Crimes Unit investigators will turn the case over to the Knox County District Attorney’s Office once the investigation is completed, he said.

Published on March 9, 2021