Knoxville/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on May 20, 2024
Knoxville Police Apprehend Suspect Charged with Double Homicide, Community MournsSource: X/Knoxville Police TN

The Knoxville Police Department has identified Claude Johnson, 55, as the victim in one of two fatal shootings that terrorized the city over the weekend. Johnson was fatally shot at Anderson Automotive & Towing, where he worked, according to information released by WATE. The second victim from a connected incident on North Broadway has not yet been named.

Robert Tristan Scruggs, a 28-year-old listed in court records as homeless, has been arrested and faces charges including first-degree murder, felony murder, and especially aggravated robbery. Scruggs allegedly wore a "distinctive face mask and dark colored hooded jacket" during the break-in at the automotive store, where he encountered Johnson. Surveillance footage showed Johnson collapsing, and Scruggs subsequently taking keys from his pocket, WBIR reported.

After stealing Johnson's Kia Sorento, Scruggs was allegedly captured on different security footage in the vicinity of the second shooting on North Broadway. Footage depicted him shooting another victim with a gun from his pocket, Knoxville Police disclosed. KPD officials, as well as first responders across the city, have been gathering evidence across multiple crime scenes to piece together the timeline of Saturday's tragedies.

Scruggs was found and apprehended near an abandoned vehicle connected to the crimes. Officers found the keys to the stolen vehicle and a firearm, also taken from the first victim, in his possession. “We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the two members of our community who tragically lost their lives this morning,” KPD Chief Paul Noel said, according to a statement reported by WATE. "Our department is entirely committed to preventing violent crime and quickly removing those responsible for committing it from our streets. I am incredibly proud of the thorough, collaborative response of our dedicated officers and detectives to this morning’s shootings."

In the wake of the shootings, Anderson Automotive and Towing has taken to social media to pay respects to Johnson and has opted against a GoFundMe campaign, instead directing those wishing to provide support to the family through alternative means.