April 12 (Reuters) - One person was killed at a Knoxville, Tennessee, high school on Monday and a police officer was wounded when police confronted an armed suspect.

The incident, which unfolded at about 3:15 p.m. local time at Austin-East Magnet School on the east side of Knoxville, marked the latest in a rash of shootings across the United States since mid-March.

Knoxville police said the officer struck by gunfire was expected to survive.

"He is conscious and in good spirits. ... He's going to be OK. I thanked him for putting his life on the line to protect students and staff at the school. He said he'd rather be hurt than anybody else," Mayor Indya Kincannon told CBS News.

Investigators did not identify the suspect or slain victim except to say they were both male. It was not yet clear if either was a student at Austin-East Magnet School.

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"Knoxville Police Department officers responded to Austin-East Magnet High School on the report of a male subject who was possibly armed in the school," department officials said on Facebook.

"Upon approach of the subject, shots were fired. A KPD officer was struck at least one time and transported to the (University of Tennessee) Medical Center with injuries that are not expected to be life-threatening. One male was pronounced deceased at the scene, while another was detained for further investigation."

Police had initially reported "multiple gunshot victims" in the attack.

PARENTS RUSH TO SCENE

"The school building has been secured and students who were not involved in the incident have been released to their families," Knoxville schools superintendent Bob Thomas said on Twitter.

Agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would assist other law enforcement agencies, the bureau's Nashville office said on Twitter.

Police established a reunification site for families of the students at the baseball field behind the school.

A mother who had been separated from her daughter was waiting near the school and was relieved to receive a text message from the girl that she was safe.

The Knoxville high school community has been ravaged by gun violence in the last few months, with at least three students at Austin-East having been killed this year.

The school, which had opened its classrooms after pandemic lockdowns, switched to remote learning for a few days in February so that students could grieve the deaths of two 15 year olds and one 16 year old, WBIR-TV News reported.

In other shootings across the United States since mid-March, a man last week opened fire at the Texas cabinet-making plant where he worked, killing one person and wounding six others before he was arrested.

Eight people were slain at Atlanta-area spas, 10 people at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, and four people, including a 9-year-old boy, at a real estate office in the Southern California city of Orange.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles Additional reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta, Peter Szekely in New York and Daniel Trotta in Vista, California Editing by Grant McCool and Matthew Lewis)