GATLINBURG -- National Park Service rangers and special agents are investigating an armed robbery occurring last Wednesday April 25, on the Foothills Parkway-East near Cosby Cocke County, Tenn.
A man and woman, both from Newport, Tennessee, reported that at approximately 4:25 p.m., while they were sitting in their vehicle at an overlook, they were confronted by two subjects dressed in dark clothing and wearing ski masks. One of the subjects assaulted the male victim by spraying him with pepper spray and hitting him on the head with a silver colored handgun. The two suspects then took the victim's 2004 maroon Nissan sedan and drove east on the parkway towards I-40. A park employee came across the victims a short while after the attack and reported the incident.
Cocke County deputies and Park Rangers responded and recovered the car which had been abandoned along the Parkway. A search of the area, with the assistance of a Sheriff's Department K-9, resulted in the recovery of clothing articles and other forensic evidence believed to belong to the suspects. The male victim was taken by ambulance to Newport Medical Center where he was treated and released.
Park investigators do not believe this was a random crime against a park visitor. Chief Ranger Clay Jordan stated, "We are pursuing leads in the case suggestive that the victims may have been specifically targeted in a preplanned robbery." Park officials are asking anyone with information concerning this incident to call park investigators at (828) 497-1936.