A FRENZIED truck driver stabbed and killed three women at a Tennessee travel center before being shot dead by cops.
Idris Abdus-Salaam, 33, from Durham, North Carolina, refused to drop the weapon when he was cornered by officers.
The knifeman had torn through the highway truck stop off Interstate 40 in Knox County before he began his blood-thirsty killing spree.
Officials said that when Knox County Sheriff's deputies arrived at the Pilot Travel Center yesterday at around 7am, they found one person stabbed outside the store before discovering the other bodies.
Abdus-Salaam had fled to the parking lot, which is 11 miles east of Knoxville, still holding the weapon when officers cornered him.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said: "Officers confronted the individual who refused to drop the weapon. At some point during the encounter, one of the officers fired shots, striking the man. He was pronounced dead at the scene."
'PRAY FOR VICTIMS'
The three employees who were tragically killed were Joyce Whaley, 57, Patricia Denise Nibbe, 51 and Nettie R. Spencer, 41.
The details of the fourth victim, who was a customer, have not been released yet.
The wounded shopper remains in hospital, the nature of their injuries have also not been revealed.
Kermit McPeek, pastor of The Crossing Church in Kodak, told WBIR that Whaley, who was a grandmother, was "one of the most caring people he had ever met".
Nibbe was described as "one of the most giving people, willing to help in an instant in any situation."
Knox County Sherriff Tom Spangler said yesterday: "I'm asking that the public join time in praying for all those who lost a loved one today, for the victim that remains in hospital, for my deputies and all of the First Responders."
Jimmy Haslam, the chief executive of the Pilot Company, said: "It is with heavy hearts that we extend our deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of the victims."
The motive behind the brutal attack it not yet known, but the TBI is investigating.
It is also investigating the circumstances of the deputy shooting.
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