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Warrants issued for new suspect; murder charge dismissed against other man in Red Roof Inn shooting

The preliminary investigation determined that multiple suspects arrived at the motel and approached a second-floor room in a possible attempted armed robbery.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Update (Oct. 20, 2020): The Knoxville Police Department said it has obtained warrants for a new suspect in a shooting this month at the Red Roof Inn after dropping a murder charge filed against a 21-year-old man earlier Tuesday.

KPD said it has obtained a warrant for the arrest of 19-year-old Johnathan Davis of Knoxville for first degree murder and attempted second degree murder in the shooting.

Police said Davis is the primary suspect and remains at large. Anyone with information about his whereabouts should contact KPD at (865) 215-7212.

Credit: KPD
Johnathan Davis

Another man had originally been identified as one of several suspected in the Oct. 11 attack, records show.

A witness picked him from a photo lineup as one of the suspects, a warrant states.

He was named in a warrant. But authorities dropped the charge Tuesday in Knox County General Sessions Court, records show.

Victim John D. Townsend was in Room 202 at the motel, 5334 Central Ave. Pike, when several suspects arrived in a Chevrolet pickup.

One of the suspects opened Townsend's door "and immediately started shooting," a warrant states. Townsend died at the motel.

As they left, one of the suspects also shot a man who worked at the property at least once in the torso. He suffered critical injuries.

UPDATE:  A man killed after a shooting at the Red Roof Inn on Central Avenue Pike on Sunday has been identified, KPD said. 

John Townsend of Knoxville was identified as the person killed. The second victim remains in critical condition.

The investigation remains ongoing.

ORIGINAL STORY: On Sunday, October 11, around 9:30 p.m., Knoxville Police Department officers responded to a reported shooting at the Red Roof Inn located on Central Avenue Pike.

Upon arrival, officers said they located two male victims, each suffering from at least one gunshot wound. One was pronounced dead on the scene, while the other was transported to the UT Medical Center via AMR in critical condition, according to KPD.

The preliminary investigation determined that multiple suspects arrived at the motel and approached a second-floor room in a possible attempted armed robbery prior to the shooting occurring, according to KPD. The suspects then fled the scene prior to the officers' arrival.

Violent Crimes Unit investigators responded to the scene to begin their investigation, which remains in the preliminary stages. Anyone with information regarding the incident is urged to call Investigator Preston Whillock at 865-215-7315.