Memphis police officer and teen suspect killed in early-morning shootout

A Memphis police officer and a teenager were killed in a shooting Friday morning after police responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle.

Officers responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle at Horn Lake Road and Charter Avenue at 2 a.m. Friday, police said. When they approached the car, police said the occupants inside shot at them and the officers returned fire.

In the hail of bullets, two teenage suspects and three police officers were struck, resulting in the death of one suspect and one police officer, identified as Officer Joseph McKinney.

In the chaos, the suspect vehicle fled and officers pursued it. The car stopped in the 400 block of Hewlett Road and a suspect was arrested. The other suspect fled the scene and was located nearby and also taken into custody, police said.

Two officers were transported to One Health Regional Hospital in Memphis and “tragically, one of our officers lost his life,” Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said during a morning news conference .

McKinney had joined the department in 2020, Davis said.

Officer Joseph McKinney smiles next to a police car.
Officer Joseph McKinney.Memphis Police Department / via Facebook

A second officer was listed in non-critical condition and “is doing well,” she said.

A third officer was treated at the scene and is in stable condition, Davis said. Police initially said two people were hit and a third was grazed by gunfire.

Both suspects were also transported in critical condition to Regional One, where one suspect, described as an 18-year-old who was driving the suspect vehicle, died from his injuries, Davis said. His name has not been released.

The other suspect, aged 17, is still in hospital.

Davis said the deceased 18-year-old suspect was previously arrested by Memphis police in March, found in a stolen vehicle with “an illegal modified semi-automatic weapon with a Glock switch attached” that converted the weapon into a fully automatic machine. gun.

Around that time, the teen was also charged with two stolen vehicles and possession of a programming device commonly used to steal cars. He was then released without bail, she said.

Davis said the local prosecutor’s office was notified and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is on scene and will investigate the shooting.

“We don’t just care about our officers, we care about the public at large. It could have been anyone and we’re just really disturbed by the audacity and the use of weapons and all these different situations that we’re seeing in our community,” Davis said.

“We have a family that is grieving now, a wife that is grieving now, the families of the suspects who are grieving now. As a community, we must do better. We need to make sure parents know where our young people are at 3 a.m.,” she added.

Mayor Paul Young said “we need a call to action from the community,” calling the incident a “senseless act of violence.”

“We know that as a community we must do more to hold violent offenders accountable for their actions, even our youth. We need to make sure that we insist on accountability. We want to protect our community, our young people are counting on us to do things right,” added Young.

Sergeant Matt Cunningham, president of the Memphis Police Association, told NBC News on Friday: “This is the most tragic situation a police department can experience. »

“We have a problem, a revolving door in our prison,” Cunningham said.

“The suspect in this shooting was released from prison on his own recognizance – he immediately returned to the street and armed himself, and got into a shootout with a police officer who died, and he also lost his life. life – and it’s tragic too,” he said. “If he had been kept in prison, he himself would be alive. So this is the situation here in Shelby County: We need to do something about the revolving door of our jail.

The union launched a fundraiser for the police officer’s family on Facebook.

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