In a shooting spree that left four people dead and three others injured across several crime scenes in Memphis, Tennessee, a 19-year-old suspect was detained on Wednesday, according to police.
According to the Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis, at least one of the shootings was apparently streamed on Facebook Live, which ultimately resulted in the arrest of Ezekiel Kelly as a suspect in the shootings after a fast-paced chase.
Before 1:00 a.m., the shootings started. A shelter-in-place order was issued for a portion of the city on Wednesday and was in effect until late that night as police searched for the shooter.
Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner described how “our citizens in Memphis and Shelby County were going about their business… getting off from work, picking up children from daycare, just going about their ordinary lives, when it was all of a sudden shattered.” The horrific violence that we witnessed and that one person inflicted on the city tonight will never, ever be forgotten by many families.
The course of the shootings
Around 12:56 in the morning, a shooting was reported in the 3100 block of Lyndale Avenue. A male victim was discovered by responding officers in a driveway, and Davis said he was pronounced dead there.
“The accused murderer’s name was Zeek Huncho. Ezekiel Kelly was later revealed to be the man “At the news conference, Davis said.
Officers were called to a shooting at 4:38 p.m. in the 900 block of South Parkway East, where they discovered a man with multiple gunshot wounds inside of his car. At the scene, he was identified as deceased.
The shooter was seen on video surveillance from a nearby business approaching the victim in a grey sedan and firing several shots before driving away, according to Davis.
A woman with a gunshot wound to the leg was discovered by responding officers moments later, at 4:40 p.m., at the scene of a shooting at Norris Road and I-240. She was transported to a hospital in an uncritical state. According to Davis, the suspect escaped in a dark-colored sedan.
Officers responded to a shooting at a store in the 4000 block of Jackson Avenue more than an hour later, at 5:59 p.m. Ezekiel Kelly started shooting inside the store while doing a Facebook Live, according to Davis.
When police arrived, they discovered a male with a gunshot wound. He was transported to a hospital in a serious state.
A concerned citizen called the police a short while later, at 6:12 p.m., claiming that “Zeek Huncho” was live on Facebook and making threats to harm citizens, Davis said.
The Memphis Police Department then ordered some citizens to shelter in place while it searched the entire city for a “armed and dangerous” suspect.
At 7:23 p.m., a second shooting was reported near Poplar Avenue and North Evergreen, where a woman had already been fatally shot. The victim’s grey SUV was taken off the scene by the shooter, according to Davis.
Officers discovered a man who had been shot on Poplar Avenue after responding to another shooting a minute later. According to Davis, he was taken to a hospital in a non-critical condition.
Officers were then called to the 800 block of West Raines Road at 8:55 p.m., where a woman with gunshot wounds had been declared dead, according to Davis.
The Southaven, Mississippi, police department responded to the intersection of Stateline Road and Highway 51 regarding a carjacking a short while later, at 8:56 p.m., according to Davis. Police claim Kelly stole a victim’s grey Dodge Challenger at gunpoint while leaving the grey SUV behind. The victim wasn’t hurt at all. Memphis is located right across the state line from Southhaven.
A high-speed chase started when Memphis police spotted the Challenger on I-55 two minutes later, at 8:58 p.m.
After a brief pursuit, Kelly was apprehended without a hitch.
When Kelly was stopped, the chief claimed that two weapons were evident in the car. There are many felony charges pending, she continued.
Mayor says violence is ‘not acceptable
Life in the city was disrupted by the shootings on Wednesday as police issued alerts regarding their hunt for the suspect. Due to the threat posed by the active shooter, the Memphis Area Transit Authority has suspended its bus and trolley services.
At a news conference on Thursday morning, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland expressed his anger over the recent violence while expressing his condolences to the families of the victims.
He said, “This is no way for us to live and it is not acceptable. I am angry for them, and I’m angry for our citizens who had to shelter in place for their own safety until this suspect was caught.” “The people of our city were confronted with the type of violence no one should have to face.”
Kelly, according to Strickland, was previously charged with criminal attempted first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of aggravated assault in April 2021. According to the mayor, he was given a three-year prison term but only served 11 months before being freed in March.
“If Mr. Kelly served his full three-year sentence, he would still be in prison today, and four of our fellow citizens would still be alive,” Strickland said.
Davis expressed his gratitude to those who informed police about the Facebook Livestream during the press conference.
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said it’s working closely with law enforcement on the case.
The social media giant said it was in touch with the department shortly after police made their initial public alerts and have since removed video content that may be related to the incident.