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West Knox Co. shooting suspect charged with second-degree murder in teen's death

Officers said they have captured the suspect in a deadly shooting in West Knox County on Monday.

UPDATE: The suspect in the deadly shooting of a Knox County teen will head to court in May.

The Knox County Sheriff's Office said 18-year-old Isaiah T. Styles has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of 18-year-old Mekhi Luster, as well as evading arrest and resisting arrest.

Styles was arraigned from jail Wednesday, and has a preliminary hearing in Knox County at the Third Sessions Felony Court set for May 4.

Styles was arrested and booked into the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility on April 24. According to his booking, Styles is being held on a $500,000 bond for the second-degree murder charge, and on two other $1,000 bonds for the other charges.

The April 23 Shooting

A $65 marijuana deal is believed to be involved in the shooting death of a Knox County teen, according to authorities.

The Knox County Sheriff's Office said a 13-year-old boy called 911 to say his friend had been shot in a West Knox County neighborhood late Monday night on April 23.

When deputies arrived, they found 18-year-old Mekhi Luster in the backyard of a home on Amber Glades Lane, suffering from a gunshot wound, officials said. He was taken to UT Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

One person was killed in a shooting on Amber Glades Lane in West Knox County on April 23, 2018

Officers from both Knox and Loudon counties searched the surrounding neighborhoods, but other than a K-9 tracking to a nearby house on Clear Ridge Road, there was no sign of the two young men officers were looking for Monday night, the sheriff's office said.

Detectives later learned the two had been driven away from the neighborhood by a teenage girl. They also determined that one of those men was the likely shooter, and the other was a witness, according to KCSO.

During a new conference Tuesday afternoon, KCSO officials said investigators believe the teens were trying to make a deal over marijuana, and something went wrong that led to the shooting. The sheriff's office said the deal happened in a car on Amber Glades Lane, and officials don't believe the deal was connected to any homes in the area.

On Tuesday, detectives tracked 18-year-old Isaiah T. Styles to his mother's home in the Farmington neighborhood, where he allegedly took off running and jumped over fences.

"I saw somebody running in the backyard behind my house, I could see him through the fences. They ran to the fence and jumped the fence into my yard," said Christine Dufault, who was sitting outside this morning when Styles fled through her yard. "They were searching on foot and then a helicopter showed up not but two minutes later."

A K-9 officer was able to track Styles down by tackling and biting him. He was taken into custody and then brought to a hospital for treatment.

"When we went to that address that we believe had connections to him, he fled through the back door. That’s where Knox County Sheriff’s Office K9 units and patrol units immediately set the perimeter," said Maj. Mike MaClean with the Knox County Sheriff's Office Special Crimes Unit. "Someone saw an opportunity to make some money through this transaction and it went bad."

The sheriff's office said he will face a felony murder charge, but the district attorney's office will determine the degree.

The witness Styles was allegedly with on Monday night has been identified as Sovereign Matthews.

KCSO commended the people living in the neighborhood for being observant and helpful during the investigation.

While the suspect was on the run, two Knox County schools were on soft lockdown: Northshore and Bluegrass Elementary schools.

"When there is law enforcement activity near one of our schools, it is not uncommon for a school to go into a lockdown, based on communication between our school security officers and law enforcement," KCS spokesperson Carly Harrington said.

Watch the KCSO news conference here:

Arrest report details search's end in Knox County

According to the arrest report, officers picked up Style's trail around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday after he initially ran from officers when they located him at his home.

A detective with the Knox County Sheriff's Office began searching around Barrington Boulevard in the Farmington neighborhood, eventually asking for a K-9 unit to assist in the search when officers said they spotted a person resembling Styles who ran from them.

The report said Styles reportedly ran through neighbors' backyard, so the officer and his K-9 partner named 'Thor' began tracking the suspect through the subdivision.

The K-9 team started cutting through yards, eventually leading them to a yard on Penwood Drive with a detached garage. The officer said he spotted Styles hiding under the garage with a piece of house wrap covering him.

The officer began commanding the suspect to crawl out and show his hands, which he said was not complied with. The officer then sent his K-9 Thor under the house to apprehend him.

The report said Thor bit Styles on his left arm when trying to pull him out from under the garage, and when officers went in to apprehend the suspect they say he continued resisting by pulling away and not putting his hands behind his back. Officers then reportedly struck Styles on the body multiple times to distract him, eventually putting him into handcuffs after the brief struggle.

The officer said Styles was bandaged up on the scene by AMR before they took him to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for further treatment, and eventually booked him into the a Knox County jail.

UPDATE: Tuesday, 1:15 p.m.

Knox County officers said they have caught the suspect in the shooting death of a Knoxville teen that's been on the run since Monday night.

The Knox County Sheriff's Office said a K-9 team captured 18-year-old Isaiah Styles around noon in the 1800 block of Penwood Drive in West Knox County in the Farmington neighborhood.

The KCSO said detectives confronted Styles in the neighborhood when he began to run. A K-9 chased after Styles and bit him before officers took him into custody.

Styles was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Photos shared with WBIR 10News from Farmington residents around noon show a young man in custody with paramedics near the intersection of Cannondale Road and Bishops Bridge Road.

Neighbors said they watched as a young man jumped over their fence and into their yard before being captured.

KCSO identified the victim in the shooting as 18-year-old Mekhi Luster of Knoxville, who was shot around 8 p.m. Monday on Amber Glades Lane in West Knox County.

"The victim in last night's shooting was a former student at Fulton High School," Carly Harrington with Knox County Schools said. "He was most recently a student at Paul Kelley Volunteer Academy."

KCSO said it will provide updates at a news conference scheduled for 3:00 p.m.


One person died in a shooting in West Knox County Monday, and now KSCO officers say they have narrowed the crime down to one suspect they've identified that is 'no longer in the area' after they found another man formerly believed to be a suspect.

According to the Knox County Sheriff's Office, detectives found and interviewed one of the two men they were searching for and now consider him a witness. Detectives said they are still actively searching for the other man who's still considered to be a suspect in the shooting.

An investigation revealed the men left the scene of the shooting at Amber Glade Lanes around 8:00 p.m. in a vehicle, and the suspect is no longer in the immediate area, according to KCSO.

Loudon and Knox County deputies said they were initially searching for two African American men believed to be between the ages of 18 and 20 years old. Loudon County authorities concentrated their search around the Knox/Loudon County line overnight, resulting in one of the two men being found.

Loudon County authorities said they are keeping officers in the area to maintain a steady presence for people's safety Tuesday. They are asking people to remain vigilant by locking doors to homes and vehicles, and said they will continue to search for the suspects through tips and leads.

Knox County Sheriff's Office deputies respond to a shooting on Amber Glades Lane on April 23, 2018.

The suspect is still believed to be armed, the sheriff's office said. Officials have not released any further details about the suspect's description or name, but say they've 'identified him.'

If you see or have contact with the men, do not approach them, and call 911 immediately, officials said.

No information was released about the shooting victim.

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