4 dead, 3 injured after hours of looting; suspect in custody

Memphis, Tennessee, police say a man driving through the city shoot peoplekilling four people, during an hour-long rampage that forced frightened people to the scene on Wednesday, was arrested.

Ezekiel Kelly, 19, who was charged as an adult with attempted first-degree murder in 2020, was taken into custody around 9 p.m. in the Memphis neighborhood of Whitehaven, the spokeswoman for police, Karen Rudolph. Memphis Police Superintendent Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said charges were pending at a news conference early Thursday.

Four people were killed and three others were injured in seven shootings across Memphis, Davis said. The rampage began at 12:56 a.m. Wednesday and continued until around 8:30 p.m.

The Memphis Police Department has released an image of a suspect it says is linked to a series of shootings in the city. (Memphis Police Department)

There were at least eight crime scenes: the seven shootings and the carjacking of a Dodge Challenger in Southaven, Mississippi, Davis said. Kelly was arrested when he crashed during a high-speed chase after the carjacking in Southaven, located south of Memphis.

This was around two hours after police sent out an alert saying a man driving a light blue Infiniti was responsible for several shootings in the city. Police say he later killed a woman in Memphis and took her gray Toyota SUV, which he left behind when he hijacked the Dodge Challenger in Southaven. Police said he recorded his actions on Facebook.

As the gunman terrorized Memphis, public bus service was suspended and a downtown stadium where a minor league baseball game was taking place was locked down. Friends and relatives were frantically calling and texting each other to check on everyone’s safety. Television stations interrupted their regular coverage to keep viewers informed.

Police received “a lot of tips” from the public during the ordeal, Davis said.

The University of Memphis sent a message to students saying a shooting had been reported near campus. Rhodes College, which is about 4 miles from the university, has advised students on and off campus to shelter in place.

The area where Kelly was arrested was about 11 miles from the University of Memphis and about 12 miles from Rhodes College.

“If you don’t have to go outside, stay inside until this is resolved,” Memphis police said on Twitter, ahead of the arrest.

Police have not discussed a motive or revealed the identities of those killed or injured. It was too early in the investigation to discuss how the suspect used the weapon or firearms in the shooting, said Ali Roberts, acting assistant special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, the tobacco, firearms and explosives in Memphis.

Memphis has been rocked by several high-profile killings in recent weeks, including the shooting of a pastor during a daylight carjacking in his driveway, the shooting of an activist during a dispute over money and the murder of a woman who was abducted while on a predawn errand.

“I understand it feels like so much violence and hurt in such a short time,” Memphis City Councilman Chase Carlisle said on Twitter. “We are so much more than that.”

In February 2020, Kelly, then 17, was charged as an adult with attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault, use of a firearm to commit a dangerous crime and reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, according to court records. The circumstances of the case were not immediately known.

Records show he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced in April 2021 to three years. Kelly was released from prison in March, 11 months after his conviction, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.

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