New Details Revealed About Killer and Victims in Truck Stop Slayings

LATEST: Tennessee Truck Stop Killer’s Motive Remains a Mystery as Disturbing New Reports Emerge

Knoxville, TN – We are learning more about the truck driver Tennessee authorities say stabbed three truck stop employees to death, and injured one more, early Tuesday morning.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (TBI) has released the identities of the three deceased victims, along with the man allegedly responsible for their deaths.

TBI identified the attacker as truck driver Idris Abdus-Salaam, 33, from Durham, NC.

The three deceased victims, all employees of the Pilot Travel Center, are 57-year-old Joyce Whaley, 41-year-old Nettie Spencer, and 51-year-old Patricia Denise Nibbe.


The fourth victim, a female guest of the travel center, has been treated and since released from the hospital, according to TBI.

What Police Say Happened

The horrific incident occurred shortly before 7 a.m. at a Pilot Travel Center along Strawberry Plains Pike just off of Interstate 40.

Officers with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) arrived to the scene only a few minutes after receiving the call for help.

TBI says upon arrival, officers discovered one person outside of the store suffering from stab wounds and quickly confronted a male, later identified as Abdus-Salaam.

At a press conference on Tuesday morning following the incident, Leslie Earhart, a spokesperson for TBI, said officers instructed Abdus-Salaam to drop his weapon.

When Abdus-Salaam refused to comply, TBI says an officer opened fire fatally wounding the suspect.


More About the Identified Attacker

While TBI has not yet released a motive for the savage attacks, we are learning more about the deceased suspect.

New reports indicate Abdus-Salaam was previously arrested in Raleigh, NC, on April 13, 2018.

According to court records, he was arrested near the Wade Avenue/I-440 interchange after attempting to abscond from law enforcement.

Abdus-Salaam was charged with felony eluding arrest with a motor vehicle.


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Transportation Nation Network (TNN) has reached out to law enforcement as well as multiple known associates of Abdus-Salaam.

Additionally, TNN spoke with a representative of the apartment complex in Durham, NC, where Abdus-Salaam lived.


We will have more on our findings in a subsequent report so make sure to follow TNN on social media for the latest updates.

Pilot Companies CEO Issues Statement

Pilot Companies CEO Jimmy Haslam was on the scene for a time following the deadly incident.

Haslam was photographed discussing the situation with investigators.

He swiftly issued a statement expressing the company’s condolences to the victims and their families.

Today is a difficult day for the Pilot Company family. We are devastated to confirm the loss of three team members and the injury of a guest after an act of violence at our Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, location this morning. It is with heavy hearts that we extend our deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of the victims. We are providing support and counseling to the families and our team. We are working closely with local authorities. Please keep these families in your thoughts and prayers.


More About The Victims

We are also learning more about the victims in the senseless slayings.

Nettie Spencer, 41, of Kodak, TN

Nettie Spencer was the youngest victim at 41-years-old.

According to Spencer’s social media, she had been an assistant manager with Pilot since August 2007 and lived in Kodak, TN.

She was a 1997 graduate of Carter High School in Strawberry Plains, TN.

Following the news of her killing, family, friends and former classmates took to social media, collectively remembering her “great heart” and “sweet” disposition.

According to Spencer’s cousin, she leaves behind three children.

She and her husband, Harold, were to celebrate their three-year wedding anniversary on Wednesday, April 8.


Joyce Whaley, 57, of Kodak, TN

Joyce Whaley was 57-years-old and an active member of The Crossing Church in Kodak, TN.

In a social media post shortly after the stabbing, Pastor Kermit McPeek identified Whaley as one of the victims.

He described Whaley as a woman who “was dearly loved,” and who “would answer the call to service when needed.”

McPeek took solace in Whaley’s relationship with Jesus, stating that “Joyce had claimed the love of her Savior and accepted him into her life and we know that she is with Him today.”

Following Whaley’s killing, her nephew, Rusty Whaley, took to social media to implore people to reach out to their loved ones.

“Cherish every moment you have with someone. Make sure your last words to them is that you love them, because you never know when it will be your last time with them,” Rusty wrote in a heartbreaking tribute to his aunt.


He said he will remember her as someone who was always there for him, and loved God and her family.

She is survived by her husband, Mike, and their daughters and grandchildren.

Patricia Denise Nibbe, 51, of Knoxville, TN

Patricia Nibbe, known as Denise, was 51-years-old and lived in Knoxville, TN.

According to her social media, she was the food division manager at the Pilot.

Prior to working for the truck stop, she was a manager at Cracker Barrel in Kodak, TN.

A member of Grace Community Church, her pastor, Joshua Moore, told local news outlet WIBR that “she was one of the most giving people, willing to help in an instant in any situation.”

Scores of former co-workers and friends echoed Moore’s comments on social media, saying she always had a smile on her face.

“She had a way of making you feel like you were important and valuable,” Melissa Belcher, a co-worker of Nibbe’s at Pilot, said in tribute.


Moore also said Nibbe’s family is “naturally devastated” after the killing.

Nibbe had been married to her husband, Russ, since 1990.

They would have celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in June.

Along with her husband, she is survived by three daughters and a 6-year-old grandson.

Stay logged on to for the latest developments in this tragic story.

Photos courtesy of Facebook and Raleigh/Wake CCBI



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