Memphis/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 12, 2024
Memphis Police Officer and Teen Dead in Predawn Shootout Near School, Community Calls for ActionSource: Facebook / Memphis Police Department est.1827

In the stillness of predawn Friday, Memphis was rocked by a fatal encounter between police officers and suspects near Geeter K-8 School, leaving a young officer and a teenager dead. According to WVLT, the shootout occurred after Memphis Police responded to reports of a suspicious black vehicle around 2 a.m. at the intersection of Horn Lake Road and Charter Road.

During the confrontation with the vehicle's occupants, multiple shots were exchanged. Officer Joseph McKinney was fatally shot and later pronounced dead at the hospital. A second officer was hospitalized in non-critical condition, while a third received a graze wound. In the same shootout, an 18-year-old suspect was also killed, and a 17-year-old is reportedly in critical condition at Regional One Hospital.

The pursuit initially began after officers approached the suspect's vehicle, which led to the fatal exchange of gunfire. Following the chase, one suspect was quickly arrested, while the other fled only to be later captured. NBC News disclosed that the 18-year-old had been arrested and released without bond in March and was found with an illegally modified semi-automatic weapon.

At a news conference, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn "C.J." Davis expressed that the community was left reeling by the thoughtless act of violence. "We have a family that's grieving now, a wife that's grieving now, the families of the suspects that's grieving now. As a community, we have to do better," Davis told NBC News. These sentiments were echoed by Mayor Paul Young, who called for a "community call to action" in the wake of the violence.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has taken the lead in probing the case, which underscores the mounting concern over gun violence and the so-called "revolving door" at the Shelby County jail. "The suspect in this shooting was released from jail on his own recognizance — he got right back out on the street and armed himself, and got into a shooting with an officer who died, and he lost his life as well — and that's tragic too," Sergeant Matt Cunningham of the Memphis Police Association conveyed to NBC News. The death of McKinney, who joined the force in 2020, and the young suspect has resonated as a grim reminder of the precariousness of public safety and the consequences of failure within the justice system.