Memphis, TN – Four people were murdered and at least three more were wounded after a convicted felon went on a “senseless murder rampage” that shut down much of Memphis on Wednesday, according to the city’s mayor.
A motive for the series of shootings was not immediately released, NBC News reported.
The alleged killer, 19-year-old convicted felon Ezekiel Dejuan Kelly, broadcasted at least one of the shootings on Facebook Live, Memphis Police Department (MPD) Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said during a press conference early Thursday morning.
The MPD became aware of the first fatal shooting at 12:56 a.m. on Wednesday, when a man was found dead in a driveway, NBC News reported.
Five witnesses who were present at the time of the attack were not injured, WATN reported.
Officers found another man dead in his vehicle from multiple gunshot wounds in the 900-block of South Parkway East near Liberty Park and Cooper-Young at approximately 4:38 p.m.
Police said security footage from a nearby business showed a gray car pulling up next to the victim prior to the fatal shooting, according to NBC News.
A woman was shot in the leg just minutes later and remained hospitalized in non-critical condition on Wednesday night, NBC News reported.
Police said Kelly was broadcasting on Facebook Live when he walked into an Auto Zone store in the 400-block of Jackson Avenue at 5:59 p.m. and shot a man in the abdomen, according to WATN.
That victim was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
The MPD was made aware of the livestream at 6:12 p.m. and investigators realized that all of the shootings were connected, WATN reported.
“ALERT!! ARMED AND DANGEROUS!!!” the police department tweeted at 7 p.m. “Be on the lookout for a male Black occupying a blue or silver sedan…who is responsible for multiple shootings.”
— Memphis Police Dept (@MEM_PoliceDept) September 8, 2022
The MPD ordered citizens to remain indoors as they conducted a citywide search for the suspect, NBC News reported.
Memphis’ regional transit authority also suspended trolley and bus services on Wednesday due to the potential threat.
The University of Memphis later went on lockdown, as did AutoZone Park, when a minor-league baseball game was underway, WATN reported.
Multiple restaurants and other business also shut down amid the chaos, according to USA Today.
Police found another woman shot to death on Evergreen Street and Poplar Avenue at 7:23 p.m. and said Kelly took off in the murdered woman’s gray SUV, according to WATN.
A coroner’s van just arrived here at Poplar Ave near Evergreen.
— Bria Jones (@BriaJonesTV) September 8, 2022
A male victim was found suffering from a non-critical gunshot wound less than a half mile away from the carjacking scene just moments later, NBC News reported.
The body of yet another murdered woman was discovered in the 800-block of West Raines Road in Whitehaven at 8:55 p.m., WATN reported.
One minute later, officers in Southaven, Mississippi, responded to a report of an armed carjacking at a gas station, NBC News reported.
— Bria Jones (@BriaJonesTV) September 8, 2022
The female victim was uninjured, but the suspect took off with her Dodge Challenger, according to investigators.
Police spotted the stolen Challenger on Interstate 55 within two minutes, leading to a high-speed chase, NBC News reported.
Kelly was ultimately stopped by Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) deputies and MPD officers and was arrested without further incident, Chief Davis told reporters.
He was apprehended in the area of Hodge Road and Ivan Road in Whitehaven, WATN reported.
Armored vehicles leaving the scene after suspect Ezekiel Kelly was taken into custody.
The scene at Ivan and Hodge in South Memphis appears to be wrapping up. pic.twitter.com/vPnpeQ9Wcv
— Clayton Collier (@ClaytonJCollier) September 8, 2022
Investigators allegedly located two firearms inside the stolen car.
Kelly was charged with first-degree murder on Wednesday, NBC News reported.
Police were processing at least eight crime scenes overnight, Chief Davis said.
“There could potentially be other locations,” she noted. “There could potentially be other damage in other places.”
The man who live-streamed himself carrying out a mass shooting spree in Memphis yesterday, allegedly killing four & injuring three, smiled as he was arrested and booked into jail. Ezekiel Kelly has a violent criminal history but was given an early release from prison this year. pic.twitter.com/52wyyugLqx
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) September 8, 2022
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland described the series of attacks as a “senseless murder rampage,” NBC News reported.
He said that Kelly had previously been charged with attempted first-degree murder after an incident that occurred when he was 17 years old.
That charge was reduced to aggravated assault, and Kelly pleaded guilty to the lesser offense in April of 2021, NBC News reported.
Although he was sentenced to three years in prison, he was out in just 11 months.
“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 told reporters on Thursday morning, according to NBC News.
Kelly had been out on the streets since March.
“These evil actions show why truth in sentencing is a must, and we should do all we can to make our city safe,” Strickland said, according to USA Today. “We should not be terrorized by anyone who wants to strike fear in our hearts and take away what we love about Memphis.”
The mayor said he is angry for the victims and for the community.
“I’m angry that our citizens had to shelter in place for their own safety until the suspect was caught,” Strickland said in a statement, according to USA Today. “This is no way for us to live and it is not acceptable.”
Kelly’s Instagram and Facebook accounts were taken down on Wednesday night in the wake of the mass shooting, USA Today reported.
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