According to authorities, a 19-year-old suspect was apprehended Wednesday in a shooting spree that left four people dead and three others injured across numerous crime locations in Memphis, Tennessee.
According to Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis, at least one of the gunshots was apparently streamed on Facebook Live, leading to the arrest of Ezekiel Kelly as a suspect in the shootings following a high-speed pursuit.
The gunfire began shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday and lasted into the late evening hours, prompting police to issue a shelter-in-place order for a portion of the city while they hunted for the gunman.
“Our residents in Memphis and Shelby County were going about their business… getting off work, bringing up children from daycare, just going about their daily lives,” Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner said. “Many families will never, ever recover from the awful brutality that we witnessed today, that one guy wreaked on the city.”
How the shootings occurred
Around 12:56 a.m., the first shooting was reported in the 3100 block of Lyndale Avenue. Responding officers discovered a man victim in a driveway and pronounced him dead at the spot, according to Davis.
“Zeek Huncho was the homicide suspect’s name. Later, he was recognised as Ezekiel Kelly “Davis stated during the press conference.
Officers rushed to another incident in the 900 block of South Parkway East at 4:38 p.m., where they discovered a guy in his vehicle with several gunshot wounds. He was declared dead at the site.
According to Davis, video surveillance from a neighboring business showed the gunman coming up next to the victim in a grey sedan and firing multiple times before driving away.
Officers responded to a shooting at Norris Road and I-240 at 4:40 p.m. and discovered a woman with a gunshot wound to the leg. She was transferred to the hospital in stable condition. Davis stated that the suspect escaped in a dark-colored vehicle.
Officers responded to a shooting in the 4000 block of Jackson Avenue more than an hour later, at 5:59 p.m. “When Ezekiel Kelly opened fire inside the store, he was on Facebook Live,” Davis added.
Officers on the scene discovered a male with a gunshot wound. In critical condition, he was taken to the hospital.
A short time later, at 6:12 p.m., police received a call from a concerned individual reporting that someone going by the name “Zeek Huncho” was live on Facebook threatening citizens.
“All I could think of was that I didn’t want to die in Walmart” https://t.co/Wp9OGVeieL
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) September 8, 2022
The Memphis Police Department then initiated a citywide search for an “armed and dangerous” individual, ordering some residents to take cover.
Another incident was reported at 7:23 p.m. in the neighborhood of Poplar Avenue and North Evergreen, where a woman had been shot and killed. The gunman fled the scene with the victim’s vehicle, a grey SUV, Davis said.
Officers arrived at another incident on Poplar Avenue a minute later and discovered a man who had been shot. Davis stated that he was transferred to a hospital in non-critical condition.
Officers then rushed to the 800 block of West Raines Road at 8:55 p.m., where a lady with gunshot wounds was declared dead, according to Davis.
At 8:56 p.m., the Southaven, Mississippi, police department responded to the area of Stateline Road and Highway 51 for a carjacking, according to Davis. Kelly allegedly carjacked a victim at gunpoint, taking a grey Dodge Challenger and leaving the grey SUV behind. The victim was not hurt. Southhaven is located directly across the state line from Memphis.
At 8:58 p.m., Memphis police spotted the Challenger on I-55, sparking a high-speed chase.
Kelly was apprehended without incident once the chase ended.
When Kelly was captured, two firearms were seen in the vehicle, according to the chief. She went on to say that “many felony charges are pending.”
Violence, according to the mayor, is ‘unacceptable.’
The wave of gunshots shook the city on Wednesday, as police issued alerts about the suspect’s whereabouts.
The Memphis Area Transit Authority halted bus and trolley service due to the active shooter.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland expressed his outrage at the recent wave of violence during a news conference Thursday morning, while also expressing condolences to the victims’ families.
“I’m angry for them, and I’m angry for our citizens who had to take cover for their own safety until the perpetrator was apprehended. This is not how we should live, and it is not acceptable “He stated. “The people of our city were subjected to violence that no one should have to face.”
Kelly had previously been charged with criminal attempted first-degree murder, but pled guilty in April 2021 to a lower charge of aggravated assault, according to Strickland. According to the mayor, he was sentenced to three years in prison but only served 11 months before being freed in March.
“Mr. Kelly would still be in prison today if he had served his entire three-year term, and four of our fellow citizens would still be alive,” Strickland said.
Davis praised people who notified authorities of the Facebook video at the press conference.
Meta, Facebook’s parent corporation, stated that it is cooperating with law enforcement on the matter.
The social media giant stated that it contacted the department shortly after the initial public alerts were issued and that it has since removed video content that may be related to the incident.