Memphis, TN. – Police here say a man who drove through the city shooting at people, killing four, during an hours-long rampage that forced frightened people to shelter in place on Wednesday has been 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 told a news conference early Thursday that charges are pending.
Four people were killed and three others 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.
There were at least eight crime scenes: the seven shootings and the carjacking of a Dodge Challenger in Southaven, Mississippi, Davis said.
The suspect was arrested after crashing during a high-speed chase from Mississippi to Memphis. This followed the carjacking in Southaven, south of Memphis.
CBS Memphis affiliate WREG-TV reports that the suspect hit a dead end in Memphis, refusing to get out of the vehicle, which police surrounded. The SWAT team was called in to help. Memphis police say the suspect was arrested with the help of Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputies.
The arrest came about two hours after police sent out an alert that a man driving a light blue Infiniti was responsible for multiple 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.
In a Facebook Live video seen by a WREG staff member, the suspect was seen getting out of a car, entering an AutoZone and shooting. The video was later removed from the platform.
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 their 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 four miles from the university, has advised students on and off campus to shelter in place.
The area where the suspect 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 tweeted ahead of the arrest.
Police have not discussed a motive or released 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 Federal Bureau of Alcohol, 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 running before dawn.
“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, the suspect, then 17, was charged as an adult with attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault, use of a firearm in the commission of a dangerous crime and of 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. The suspect was released from jail in March, 11 months after being convicted, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.