Jennifer Rooney, a 44-year-old mother, was fatally shot while delivering papers for the Bristol Herald-Courier a little after 2 a.m.
A Bristol police officer responding to the scene was among the injured in the bloody Thursday morning chaos, a police spokesman.
The shooter — who police have not yet identified — opened fire at drivers near the Days Inn and later shot at three police officers, who returned fire.
Tennessee sheriff’s deputies critically wound hit-run suspect
Bristol Herald-Courier publisher Jim Maxwell called it a “senseless act of violence” that has left the small city shaken.
“Residents of our community woke up to what was expected to be a typical July warm and humid morning, except today they were greeted with news of this extremely troubling event,” he wrote.
“It’s like the crazy stuff you read about or see on television from other places suddenly and unexpectedly materialized here in our backyard. Things like this just don’t happen here.”
Police haven’t commented on any possible motive and are not releasing names of the victims, who were all taken to Bristol Regional Medical Center.
The shooter has not yet been charged.
Local photographer Deana Fleenor was asleep at her home 2 miles away when she woke up to the sound of gunfire.
“All of a sudden I heard pow, pow, pow, pow, pow,” she said.
“You run through a thousand things in your head of what it could be.”
At first, she thought it was someone hammering.
Then a second round of shots rang out — and a minute later a third.
“It’s startling, it’s very scary,” she said. “Nothing like that really has ever happened in our town. I’ve always felt safe here.”