A 19-year-old man was arrested Wednesday after live-streaming part of the shooting that killed four people, wounded three others and took their lives as residents of Memphis were asked to shelter in place, police said.
The hours-long outcry led to the suspension of public bus and trolley services and the curtailment of a minor league baseball game. This enrages the town’s mayor with wanton violence and kidnaps and murders a school teacher who goes jogging.
“I am angry with them, I am angry with our citizens who had to shelter in place for their own safety until this suspect was apprehended. This is no way for us to live and this is not acceptable,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, who offered his condolences to the families of the victims.
“The people of our city have faced the kind of violence no one should have to face.”
At least one of the shootings appeared to have been streamed on Facebook Live — which ultimately led to the arrest of Ezekiel Kelly following a high-speed chase, Memphis Police Chief Cerilyn “CJ” Davis said at a news conference Thursday morning.
Kelly was released from prison in March after serving 11 months of a three-year sentence for aggravated assault. Court records show he pleaded guilty after facing counts including attempted murder, reckless endangerment and using a firearm with intent to commit a dangerous felony in a 2020 Shelby County case.
“If Mr. Kelly served his full three-year sentence, he would still be in prison today and four of our fellow citizens would still be alive,” Strickland said.
Kelly, also known as Seek Hancho, is scheduled to appear in court Friday, according to jail records. He is being held on a charge of first-degree murder, but officials said he will be charged with more crimes.
The firing started before 1 am on Wednesday and continued into the evening Shelter-in-Place Order to a part of the city as police searched for the gunman.
“Our citizens in Memphis and Shelby County were going about their business … getting off work, picking up their kids from daycare, going about their normal lives, when all of a sudden it all came crashing down,” Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner said. “Many families will never recover from the horrific violence inflicted by one man on the city tonight.”
The first shooting was reported around 12:56 a.m. in the 3100 block of Lindale Avenue. Officers found a male victim in a driveway, who was pronounced dead at the scene, Davis said.
Three witnesses at the scene — friends of the victim and the suspected shooter — positively identified Kelly from a photographic line-up, according to the arrest affidavit.
Dewayne Tunstall, who was with four other friends when Kelly pulled him over, was killed, according to the affidavit. Tunstall was shot in the head.
At 4:38 p.m., officers responded to another shooting in the 900 block of South Parkway East, where they found a man in a vehicle with multiple gunshot wounds. He died on the spot.
Video surveillance from a nearby business showed the gunman standing next to the victim in a gray sedan and firing multiple shots before driving away, Davis said.
Minutes later, at 4:40 p.m., officers responded to a shooting at Norris Road and I-240, where a woman was shot in the leg. She was hospitalized in non-critical condition. Davis said the suspect got away in a dark-colored sedan.
More than an hour later, at 5:59 p.m., officers arrived at the scene of another shooting at a store in the 4000 block of Jackson Avenue. Ezekiel Kelly was on Facebook Live when shots were fired inside the store, Davis said.
Responding officers found a male with a gunshot wound. He was admitted to the hospital in critical condition.
A short time later, at 6:12 p.m., police received a call that a man named “Seek Hancho” was live on Facebook saying he was “threatening to harm citizens,” Davis said.
Then the Memphis Police Department a Search across the city For the “armed and dangerous” suspect, prompting some residents to shelter in place.
At 7:23 p.m., another shooting was reported at Poplar Avenue and North Evergreen, where a woman was shot and killed. The gunman fled the scene in the victim’s vehicle, a gray SUV, Davis said.
A minute later, officers responded again to the shooting on Poplar Avenue and found a man who had been shot. He was taken to the hospital in non-critical condition, Davis said.
Then, at 8:55 p.m., officers responded to the 800 block of West Rains Road, where a woman had died of gunshot wounds, Davis said. She was the seventh victim of the shooting.
At 8:56 p.m., the Southaven, Mississippi Police Department responded to the area of Stateline Road and Highway 51 for a carjacking, Davis said. Police said Kelly carjacked the victim at gunpoint, leaving behind a gray SUV in a gray Dodge Challenger. The victim was not injured. South Haven is across the state line from Memphis.
Two minutes later, at 8:58 p.m., Memphis police located the Challenger on I-55 and took Kelly into custody without incident after a high-speed chase.
The chief said two weapons were visible in Kelly’s vehicle when he was apprehended. “There are many crimes to be solved,” she added.
Facebook’s parent company Metta said it was working with law enforcement on the case.
The social media giant said it contacted the department shortly after police issued initial public alerts and removed video content related to the incident.
Life in the city was thrown into chaos on Wednesday following the shooting as the police issued an alert for a manhunt for the accused. The Memphis Area Transit Authority has suspended its bus and trolley services. quoting Danger from an active shooter.
AutoZone Park in downtown Memphis was evacuated during a minor league baseball game hosted by the Redbirds, WMC-TV reported. The second game of the suspended doubleheader will resume Thursday afternoon, according to the team’s website.
The shooting happened the same day the suspect in the kidnapping and killing of Memphis teacher Eliza “Lisa” Fletcher was ordered held without bond.
Cleotha Henderson is accused of killing Fletcher early Friday morning.
Fletcher’s disappearance sparked an intense manhunt — spurred by surveillance video that police said showed her jogging in an SUV — that led to Henderson’s arrest Saturday near his home in Memphis.
Fletcher’s body was found Monday near a vacant duplex and was publicly identified Tuesday, authorities said.
The teacher’s violent death reverberated through a Tennessee city reeling from Wednesday’s shooting.
“We have to stop this madness. We’re pointing fingers… My question to everybody, before you point that finger, ask yourself, what are you doing?” community activist Steve Moore told CNN affiliate WMC TV Wednesday night.