Knoxville Police Officer Jay Williams is recovering from a gunshot wound after he was shot Thursday night during a traffic stop in North Knoxville.

To the relief of many people, Williams was not critically hurt in the shooting and was released from the hospital Friday morning and is at home recuperating.

Williams attempted to pull over the suspect, 31-year-old Ronnie L. Wilson, during a traffic stop near the Target on Washington Pike in North Knoxville. According to KPD, Wilson fired one shot from a shotgun while still driving, then stopped his car, got out and "fired continuously at the officer."

Williams did not return fire, and immediately got on the radio to let dispatch know he had been shot so regional law enforcement could respond and begin the search for an armed and dangerous suspect.

If you want to learn more about the search for Wilson, you can read more about it by clicking here.

The man behind the badge

KPD Officer Jay Williams
KPD Officer Jay Williams

Officer Jay Williams has been serving his community for more than 14 years after joining the Knoxville police force in Nov. 2003. During his time as a KPD officer, Williams has been noted for his compassion and service as a community hero.

In 2015, Williams was honored along with KPD officer Jonathan Book by the City of Knoxville for a simple act of kindness in their community: helping an elderly woman who was going hungry.


Williams and Book responded to a call of an elderly woman asking for food in Feb. 2015, and arrived to find the woman was distressed. The only food in her kitchen was a half-empty jar of peanut butter she had been rationing for a week, so the two went to a nearby grocery store and bought her some groceries before heading to Knox Area Rescue Ministries to get her a hot meal.

The city said the two continued to help the woman after the initial call by finding long-term care for her through Mobile Meals, Love Kitchen and Adult Protective Services.

“Thank you Officer Williams and Officer Book for representing yourselves and our department the way you do,” Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch said in 2015. "Their human and humane response shows the true spirit of our profession and quite frankly, a spiritual side that few understand.”

In 2016, Williams was honored once again for his work in stopping a string of burglaries in North Knoxville that also led to a major drug arrest.

After he was shot Thursday, thousands of people from East Tennessee and across the country sent their prayers, love and gratitude to Williams and his family in hopes that he is able to have a quick recovery.