When was the last school shooting in the Tri-Cities?

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – On March 27, 2023, a shooting at The Covenant School in the Green Hills area of Nashville resulted in the death of three children, three staff members and the shooter.

After the shooting, lawmakers from Northeast Tennessee spoke with News Channel 11 about what should be done at the legislative level. Representatives from the area said they see school security measures as the chief means of combatting similar situations from occurring.

According to News Channel 11 archives, one shooting has occurred in a school in the Tri-Cities area in the last 30 years.

Sullivan Central High School

On Aug. 30, 2010, Thomas Cowan entered Sullivan Central High School armed and requested to meet with the school’s principal. Carolyn Gudger, the school resource officer at Sullivan Central at the time, accompanied principal Melanie Riden.

Photo: Surveillance of the standoff between Carolyn Gudger and Thomas Cowan inside Sullivan Central High School in 2010.

Cowan pulled a gun on Riden, which resulted in a standoff between him and Gudger that lasted more than 10 minutes. Two other officers later responded, and Cowan reportedly refused to put down his weapon.

Cowan was shot multiple times and taken to a hospital where he was declared dead.

Photo: Carolyn Gudger recounts her standoff in Sullivan Central High School with News Channel 11. (WJHL)

In 2011, Gudger watched the surveillance video of her confrontation with News Channel 11, recalling how she refused to take her eyes off Cowan and how he told her that he did not intend on walking out of the school alive.

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