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'The power of prayer is definite' | KPD officer thankful for support, hoping for closure 2 years after attack on duty

Officer B.K. Hardin was hit on the head with what police say was an old tire iron while he was directing traffic after a 2018 UT football game.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — November 17, 2018 started as an average day for KPD Officer B.K. Hardin, but it didn't end that way.

"Two years ago was one of those days that you wonder, wow, did this really happen?" said Hardin.

He was directing traffic at Clinch Avenue and 17th Street after the University of Tennessee football game against Missouri that evening. 

"I told my partner there at the intersection, 'Boy, this traffic's really getting out of here, we may get out of here early tonight,' and that's one of the last things I remember," said Hardin.

A man came up behind Hardin and hit him in the head with what police believe to be an old tire iron. The suspect is still unknown.

"The attack happened and the next thing I know I'm in the back of an ambulance on the way to UT hospital," he said.

Credit: WBIR
KPD Officer B.K. Hardin, Nov. 2020

Hardin said he was told he tried to fight back, but started falling backwards instead, and a 'Good Samaritan' got out of his truck and caught Hardin before he hit the ground.

They waved down an ambulance that happened to be driving by.

Hardin had surgery for a fractured skull and brain bleed, and dealt with concussion symptoms for weeks.

Not long after the attack, he made a full recovery.

"After 6 weeks I went back on light duty, couple of weeks of light duty and they released me back to full duty after 8 weeks," said Hardin.

He's been a school resource officer at Vine Middle School ever since, still hoping his case will be solved.

"The uncertainty is hard, you know you see other cases, and being a police officer you want to solve the case, you want to get to the bottom of it, you want to see justice served," said Hardin.

Through it all, Hardin remains thankful for the support he's received since the attack.

"The power of prayer is definite," he said. "I mean there's no question about that. I am a living, breathing result of the power of prayer and positive support within the community."

He said he's using the experience of the attack to try to be a voice for the Knoxville Police Department within the community.

"Humanize the badge and show people what we really are and who we really are," said Hardin.

The attacker has been described as being between age 25 and 35, about 6 feet tall and about 160 pounds. He was clean shaven.

A total of $28,400 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever attacked Hardin.

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