Nashville TN Aug 3 2021 A 22-year-old warehouse employee opened fire Tuesday morning at an Antioch business, shot three people and injured a fourth person, Nashville police reported. The man suspected in the shooting was killed by two responding South Precinct police officers.
Just before 6 a.m., police responded to a active shooter call at Smile Direct Club at 1530 Antioch Pike, just south of Harding Place about 12 miles southeast of downtown.
During a shift change, a man with a Glock semi-automatic pistol entered the building and began shooting, Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron told reporters during a news conference Tuesday morning.
Police believe the shooter acted alone and said he was an employee at the business who was scheduled to begin his day shift.
No motive has been released for the shooting.
On Tuesday afternoon police identified the victims as a 46-year-old security guard who was in critical condition; a 66 year-old security guard who was in stable condition and a 54-year-old manager at the warehouse facility who was treated and released from a hospital.
When police arrived minutes after the shooting call, they saw a man matching the shooter’s description at the nearby intersection of Antioch Pike and Franklin Limestone Road with a gun.
They asked the man to drop the gun, Aaron said, but he pointed it at the officers instead.
Officers shot the man, who died after he was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Aaron said. He has been identified as Antonio D. King, 22.
He only began working for the company in June, after previously working there between late 2019 and early 2020, police said.
Fire department personnel took five people to area hospitals, spokesman Joseph Pleasant said. EMTs and paramedics from the department were the first on the scene, he said.
Three employees were shot and taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
One employee was shot in the chest, one in the abdomen and one in the leg. Another employee injured an ankle while running and was transported to TriStar Century Farms ER, Nashville Fire Department spokesman Joseph Pleasant said.
Two MNPD officers fired at King during the fatal altercation in the intersection, Aaron said: Dylan Ramos, who entered the academy in October 2019, and Cherell Kinchlowe, who entered the academy last August.
Neither officer was hurt by gunfire, Aaron said. Investigation is continuing after reports King may have fired at the officers, he said.
Body camera footage from the officers on the scene had not been released as of 1 p.m. Tuesday.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will handle the investigation because it involves a shooting by police. The agency confirmed special agents and forensic scientists were on scene as of 8:30 a.m.
An MNPD SWAT team was on hand to clear the building.
“To the best of our knowledge this is one person, one gunman, an employee here who walked in and started shooting for reasons unknown to be determined,” Aaron said.
A Smile Direct employee uses her phone as Metro Police investigate a shooting after an employee opened fire and shot three other employees at the Smile Direct Club warehouse Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.
The business is located off a two-lane road surrounded by woods near Luna Drive.
Dozens of single-story homes line Antioch Pike directly across from the building, which is neighbored by two large brick employee parking lots.
People were asked to avoid the area while the investigation continued Tuesday. Antioch Pike remained closed in both directions between Luna Drive and Franklin Limestone Road as of 1 p.m.
In the aftermath of the shooting, dozens of overnight shift employees stuck around the scene.
They fled to parking lots, meeting the day shift workers arriving to clock in. Together, they stood in the parking lots, some crying, others staring ahead of them. Nearly all clutched cell phones to their ears or gripped in their hands.
Lauren Hathaway, 20, of Hermitage, had just ended her 6 p.m.- 6 a.m. shift when she heard arguing and a a voice she recognized as a security guard she knew shout, “Don’t pull it out!”
Then the shots rang out and Hathaway took cover.
“I ran straight to the bathroom. I was in the bathroom for like 6 minutes,” she told The Tennessean, barely taking her eyes off the building some 40 yards in front of her. “Eventually, it got quiet, so I came out and peeked around the corner to see if anyone needed help.”
She saw a captain from her shift stumble toward her and fall into a chair, shot.
“I was shocked…I wanted to help him,” Hathaway said. “Finally, police came in and told us to stand in the corner and then instructed us to walk outside.”
Smile Direct Club, which produces teeth-straightening products, has been headquartered in Nashville since 2016.
The company released a statement Tuesday morning:
“SmileDirectClub is saddened at the incident that took place at its manufacturing facilities this morning. The incident was contained quickly by security personnel on site. The safety of our team members is a top priority for our company and we maintain strict security protocols. We are working with the local police as they investigate this matter.”
The building remained closed Tuesday. It was not immediately known whether it would reopen for business Wednesday.