MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG)– A 19-year-old man was arrested Wednesday night after multiple shootings and carjackings across Memphis left four people dead and three injured in a violent rampage that lasted for hours, officials said.
The suspect was identified as Ezekiel Kelly. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Kelly had been released from jail March 16 after serving 11 months of a three-year sentence for an aggravated assault plea.
The first killing happened just after midnight, Police Chief CJ Davis said. At least one shooting was streamed on Facebook Live by the suspect. Kelly was taken into custody at 9:20 after a chase from Mississippi back into Memphis.
Memphis Police issued an alert at 6:56 p.m. warning people that Kelly was responsible for multiple active shootings. Police said they received reports he was recording his actions on Facebook. In a Facebook Live video seen by a WREG staff member, Kelly was seen getting out of a car, walking into the AutoZone on Jackson Avenue, and firing shots. The video was later removed from the platform.
WARNING: Graphic image in one of the photos below.
Police initially said Kelly was occupying a light blue Infiniti with a red dealer tag and a rear window busted out but later said Kelly carjacked a woman on Poplar and took off in a gray Toyota SUV.
A WREG staff member saw a person lying unresponsive at Poplar Avenue and Evergreen Street in Midtown. Police sources say this is where Kelly carjacked a woman. Witnesses report he shot her during the crime.
Later, police said Kelly stole a Dodge Challenger in Southaven, Mississippi before he was involved in a standoff in the area of Ivan Road and Hodge Road in Memphis. He refused to get out of the vehicle and police surrounded the vehicle. The SWAT Team was also called in to assist.
Memphis Police confirmed Kelly was taken into custody with the assistance of Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies around 9:20 p.m.
Police later listed the timeline of the shootings in detail:
- 12:56 a.m., a 24-year-old man was killed on Lyndale in the Highland Heights neighborhood. A suspect who called himself Zeek Huncho on social media was developed.
- 4:38 p.m., a man was found shot dead in a vehicle at a gas station on South Parkway E. Survillance video revealed a man in a gray sedan pulled up next to the victim’s car and opened fire.
- 4:40 p.m., a woman was injured in a second shooting on Norris Road near I-240. The suspect fled in a dark sedan.
- 5:59 p.m. Kelly walked into an AutoZone store in the 4000 block of Jackson Avenue and shot a man while livestreaming on Facebook. The man was in critical condition, police said.
- 6:56 p.m., Memphis Police put out an alert on the suspect after receiving a call that Kelly was making threats on Facebook.
- 7:23 p.m., a woman was killed in a shooting at Poplar and Evergreen. Police said Kelly took her gray SUV and fled.
- 7:24, man shot at Poplar and Evergreen
- 8:55 p.m., woman shot dead on Raines Road
- 8:56 p.m., Southaven Police responded to a carjacking at Stateline Road and Highway 51. Kelly took the man’s gray Dodge Challenger and left the SUV behind.
- 8:58 p.m., Memphis Police officers spotted the Dodge Challenger going northbound on Interstate 55, and a high-speed pursuit began. The p[ursuit ended at Hodge Road and Ivan in southwest Memphis, where Kelly was taken into custody without incident.
Davis said numerous felony charges are pending against Kelly.
During the event, Rhodes College in Midtown was sheltering in place. The University of Memphis also sent an alert saying police have responded to shots fired in the area of Patterson and Southern. All lockdowns across the city were lifted after the arrest.
Local and state officials reacted to Wednesday night’s events in the following statements:
Tennessee Senator London Lamar:
“I’m traumatized just like everyone else. Let’s take a day off tomorrow and start the healing! This week has been overwhelming! I’m also praying for the families of the victims impacted by this tragedy! I hope you can find comfort and continue to believe Memphis deserves your love
We will never forget today but we can heal together! I love Memphis! I love our people! Pray for us!”
MSCS Interim Superintendent Toni Williams:
“As a life-long Memphian, I love your city– but I equally recognize the increased concerns may have following tonight’s events. Therefore, we will have heightened awareness at our schools tomorrow to give all families an added feeling of safety and security.”
Former Shelby County Commissioner Mark Billingsley:
“Pray for Memphis and our surrounding community. We are all devastated by the loss of lives due to crippling crime and our own safety and well-being.”
Tennessee State Senator Raumesh Akbari:
“Memphis!!!! What is going on in my city!? These sick individuals do not represent us and will not ruin our city. They do not define us!! Please stay home and be safe if you are out and about until this individual is arrested. Go home now.”
Southaven Mayor Darren Musslewhite:
“We stand strong in our support of Memphis and the fight against the ongoing heinous behavior. This is a different kind of evil and will be fought with every resource possible in Southaven.”