Memphis, Tennessee. — Police here said a man drove around the city and shot at people in Wednesday’s hours-long rampage, killing four, forcing frightened people to take shelter in place.
Ezekiel Kelly, 19, who was charged with attempted first-degree murder in 2020, was taken into custody in the Memphis neighborhood of Whitehaven around 9 p.m., police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said. The charges are pending, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said at a news conference earlier Thursday.
Of the seven shootings in Memphis, four people were killed and three wounded, Davis said.The atrocities began at 12:56 a.m. on Wednesday and continued until around 8:30 p.m.
Davis said there were at least eight crime scenes: seven shootings and a Dodge Challenger carjacking in Southhaven, Mississippi. Kelly was arrested when he crashed in a high-speed chase after a carjacking in South Haven, just south of Memphis.
About two hours later, police sounded the alarm that a man driving a light blue Infiniti was responsible for multiple shootings in the city. He later killed a woman in Memphis and took away the gray Toyota SUV she left behind when he hijacked a Dodge Challenger in Southaven, police said. Police said he recorded his actions on Facebook.
As gunmen terrorized Memphis, public bus service was suspended and a downtown stadium where a minor league baseball game was being played was blocked. Friends and relatives frantically called and texted to check on their safety. Television cuts to regular coverage to keep viewers updated.
Davies said police received “many tips” from the public during the ordeal.
The University of Memphis sent a message to students about a shooting near the campus.
Rhodes College, about four miles from the university, advised students on and off campus to shelter in place.
The area where Kelly was arrested is about 11 miles from the University of Memphis and about 12 miles from Rhodes College.
“If you don’t have to go out, please stay indoors until the issue is resolved,” Memphis police tweeted before the arrest.
Police did not discuss motives or release the identities of those killed or injured.
Ali Roberts, the acting assistant agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Memphis, said it was too early to discuss how the suspect obtained the gun used in the shooting.
There have been several high-profile killings in Memphis in recent weeks, including a priest who was shot during a daytime carjacking in her driveway, an activist who was shot during an argument over money, and A woman who was kidnapped while running before dawn is killed.
“I know so much violence and evil in such a short period of time,” Memphis City Council member Chase Carlisle said on Twitter. “We are so much more than that.”
In February 2020, Kelly, then 17, was charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault, use of a firearm to commit a dangerous felony and recklessly endangering a lethal weapon, court records show. The specifics of the case are unclear.
He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced to three years in prison in April 2021, records show. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Kelly was released in March after serving an 11-month sentence.