|Over approximately the past month, the Kingsport Police Department, in cooperation with law enforcement officials from surrounding local, state, and federal agencies, has been engaged in an extensive investigation into a surge in the crimes of Motor Vehicle Theft and Auto Burglary in the City of Kingsport and surrounding areas to include the greater Tri-Cities/Northeast Tennessee Region.
While K.P.D.’s investigation has centered around its jurisdiction, the increased frequency of these types of crimes is by no means unique to Kingsport. When sharing criminal intelligence information with other agencies, feedback indicates that similar trends are being experienced in other jurisdictions across the region, state, and nation.
Detectives with the K.P.D. Criminal Investigations Division developed credible intelligence to lead them to believe that these crimes were being committed by a group of juveniles, and that the juveniles in question were in possession of firearms. This group of juveniles has been linked to at least a dozen stolen vehicles, many of which have since been recovered.
During the course of the investigation, Detectives have also been able to determine that some of these stolen vehicles have been used during the commission of multiple violent felonies. These incidents include the brandishing of firearms, drive-by style shootings, aggravated assaults, and an attempted carjacking. Fortunately, nobody was stuck by any of the gunfire in any of these earlier incidents.
Most recently, in the past 24 hours, the following incidents have occurred:
1) October 22, 2021: A drive-by style shooting at an apartment in the 1000 block of Reedy Place in Kingsport. An 18 year old male sustained a gunshot wound to the upper thigh during this incident. He was transported to an area hospital for emergency medical treatment. His current condition is unknown.
2) October 23, 2021: A Kingsport Police Officer encountered some of the suspects in one of the stolen vehicles in the 800 block of Lynn Garden Drive in Kingsport, and a pursuit ensued. During the pursuit, the suspects are believed to have fired shots at the pursuing officer, and they were able to successfully evade the officer. Nobody is believed to have been hit by the gunfire.
3) October 23, 2021: A newspaper carrier encountered a suspect, believed to be attempting to steal a vehicle, in the 1000 block of Forest Ridge Drive in Kingsport. Shots are believed to have been fired as the suspect fled on foot, but nobody is believed to have been hit by the gunfire.
4) October 23, 2021: Sullivan County Sheriff’s Deputies encountered some of the suspects in one of the stolen vehicles in the 1300 block of South John B. Dennis Highway in Kingsport, and a pursuit ensued. During the pursuit, the suspects fired multiple shots at the pursuing officers, and they were able to successfully evade the officers. While two SCSO cruisers were in fact hit with gunfire, no persons are believed to have been hit by the gunfire.
Based upon the investigation, Detectives have placed multiple felony charges and secured juvenile petitions and attachments for two of the juveniles involved. One suspect is a 16 year old black male, and the other is a 13 year old black male. While their identities are not being released at this time due to juvenile privacy laws, their charges are extremely serious, and they should be considered armed and dangerous. As of the time of issuance of this news release, they remain wanted and at large. Their specific charges are detailed in the accompanying tables below.
This investigation remains active and on-going by the K.P.D. Criminal Investigations Division. Additional persons are believed to be involved, and additional charges are likely pending.
Two stolen vehicles (to include stock photos), believed to still be in possession of the suspects, are also featured in the tables below. One is a black 2015 Jeep Patriot sport utility vehicle, and the other is a white 2018 Nissan Rogue sport utility vehicle.
Citizens are encouraged to contact 911 immediately if they see any criminal or otherwise suspicious activity involving juveniles, especially if it involves either of these two described vehicles.
Tips regarding these or any other cases can also be submitted anonymously via online “Citizen Feedback” forms available at the following link:
As many of these vehicles are being stolen from area neighborhoods, citizens are also encouraged to review their home surveillance and video doorbell camera footage for any suspicious activity and report any findings to the Kingsport Police Department immediately.
In the meantime and as always, in an effort to deter and prevent the crimes of Motor Vehicle Theft and Auto Burglary, citizens are also urged to:
1) Never leave a vehicle unlocked while unattended.
2) Never leave the key (or electronic key fob) inside a parked and unoccupied vehicle.
3) Never leave a car key (or electronic key fob) in an unsecure location.
4) Never leave a vehicle running unless the driver is actually in it.
5) Never leave any items of real or perceived value in plain sight inside a vehicle.
As this remains an open and active multi-agency investigation involving juvenile suspects, absolutely no additional information can or will be released at this time.