At least one of the shootings was apparently broadcast on Facebook Live, which ultimately led to the arrest of Ezekiel Kelly as a suspect in the shooting following a high-speed chase, the chief of the police said. Memphis police Cerelyn “CJ” Davis at a press conference early Thursday.
“Our citizens of Memphis and Shelby County were going about their business…leaving work, picking up the kids from daycare, going about their regular lives, when suddenly everything was shattered,” Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner said. . . “Many families will never, ever recover from the horrific violence that we saw, that a single individual inflicted on the city tonight.”
The first shooting was reported around 12:56 a.m. in the 3100 block of Lyndale Avenue. Responding officers found a male victim in an alley and he was pronounced dead at the scene, Davis said.
“The homicide suspect was known as Zeek Huncho. He was later identified as Ezekiel Kelly,” Davis said at the press conference.
At 4:38 p.m., officers responded to another shooting in the 900 block of South Parkway East, where they found a man in his vehicle with multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Video surveillance from a nearby business captured the shooter pulling up next to the victim in a gray sedan and firing several shots before driving off, Davis said.
Minutes later, at 4:40 p.m., officers responded to a shooting at Norris Road and I-240 and found a woman with a gunshot wound to her leg. She was taken to hospital in non-critical condition. The suspect fled in a dark-colored sedan, Davis said.
More than an hour later, at 5:59 p.m., officers responded to a shooting at a store in the 4000 block of Jackson Avenue. “Ezekiel Kelly was on Facebook Live when he opened fire inside the store,” Davis said.
Officers found a man with gunshot wounds. He was taken to hospital in critical condition.
Shortly after, at 6:12 p.m., police received a call from a concerned citizen saying that a person by the name of “Zeek Huncho” was live on Facebook saying he was “threatening to harm citizens”, said Davis.
Another shooting was reported at 7:23 p.m. in the Poplar Avenue and North Evergreen area, where a woman was fatally shot. The shooter fled the scene with the victim’s vehicle, a gray SUV, Davis said.
A minute later, officers responded to another shooting on Poplar Avenue and found a man who had been shot. He was taken to hospital in non-critical condition, Davis said.
Then, at 8:55 p.m., officers responded to the 800 block of West Raines Road where a woman with gunshot wounds was pronounced dead, according to Davis.
Shortly after, at 8:56 p.m., the Southaven, Mississippi, police department responded to the Stateline Road and Highway 51 area, regarding a carjacking, Davis said. Police say Kelly hijacked a victim at gunpoint, taking a gray Dodge Challenger, leaving the gray SUV behind. The victim was not injured. Southhaven is just across the border from Memphis.
Two minutes later at 8:58 p.m., Memphis police spotted the Challenger on I-55 and a high-speed chase ensued.
The chase ended and Kelly was taken into custody without incident.
The chief said two weapons were visible in the vehicle when Kelly was apprehended. “Many felony charges are pending,” she added.
Mayor says violence is ‘not acceptable’
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland expressed his anger at the wave of violence during Thursday morning’s press conference as he offered his condolences to the families of the victims.
“I’m angry for them, and I’m angry for our citizens who had to shelter in place for their own safety until this suspect was caught. This is not a way of life for us and it’s not acceptable.” he said. “The people of our city have faced a type of violence that no one should have to deal with.”
Strickland said Kelly was previously charged with attempted first-degree murder, but pleaded guilty in April 2021 to a lesser charge of aggravated assault. He was sentenced to three years in prison but only served 11 months and was released in March, the mayor said.
“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.
During the press conference, Davis thanked those who alerted police to the Facebook live stream.
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said it is working closely with law enforcement on the case.
The social media giant said it was in contact with the department shortly after police issued their first public alerts and have since removed video content that may be related to the incident.
CNN’s Steven Almasy and Amanda Jackson contributed to this report.