A person died Thursday following a confrontation with law enforcement officers and two officers suffered non-critical injuries, the Memphis Police Department said.
The MPD said members of the Multi-Agency Gang Unit were trying to serve an arrest warrant on Ptarmigan Trail, near Whitten Road at about 12:40 p.m. when a suspect fired shots at the officers.
Ruling on 2019 officer-involved shooting:District attorney’s office rules 2019 South Memphis law enforcement shooting is justified
The MPD released a brief summary on Twitter and cautioned that the information is preliminary: “One deputy was grazed by gunfire and was injured while attempting to retreat from the residence through a nearby window. A Memphis Police Department officer returned fire and was injured while attempting to retreat from the residence to avoid gunfire from the suspect.”
“The suspect retreated into a room within the residence. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office SWAT made entry into the room and located the suspect, who was pronounced deceased. At this point, it is unknown if the officer struck the suspect or if the suspect suffered a self-inflicted wound.”
The brief statement doesn’t mention the dead person’s gender or age.
In a news conference shortly after 8 p.m., Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Keli McAlister added some details: the person who died was male and the officers were serving arrest warrants from Sumner County. She said that they had entered the home, that they were fired upon, that at least one officer fired back, and that all officers then exited the house. She said two officers jumped through a window to escape and were injured.
The Shelby County SWAT team came later and found the person dead inside the rwith an apparent gunshot wound.
She didn’t release the person’s name, citing the need to inform next of kin. Asked if a gun was found at the shooting scene or if the officers were wearing body cameras, she said she couldn’t comment.
Another recent officer-involved shooting:One shot, killed by sheriff’s deputy at Robinhood Park Apartments; deputy hit by suspect’s car
The MPD officer and the deputy were taken to Regional One Hospital and were in non-critical condition, the MPD said.
John Morris, a spokesperson for SCSO, confirmed the injury sustained by the deputy was minor, caused by a graze from shattered glass. The deputy is expected to fully recover.
MPD spokesperson Sgt. Louis Brownlee confirmed the police officer is expected to recover from his minor injury.
The gang unit is an agency made up primarily of MPD officers and Sheriff’s deputies.
Drug bust in North Memphis last month:40 indicted, three homes closed in North Memphis drug trafficking bust
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will review the shooting. On Thursday afternoon, a big vehicle marked TBI was visible on the suburban tree-lined street. Portions of the street were blocked off with yellow tape. Closer to the investigation scene, red tape blocked access. Young boys played in the front yard of one of the homes as police officers moved throughout the area.
Wilma Dunlap, 68, lives in the neighborhood and said she was painting a garage door when the incident happened. She said she took a cell phone photo of of one officer helping another. She said the officer was injured, holding his hand raised and she saw blood running down his hand and arm. The time stamp on the photo says 12:48 pm. Shortly after this, police told her to leave. “They made me evacuate,” Dunlap said “. . . The officer told me to get in my vehicle and get out of here.”
She returned to the neighborhood later and was talking with a neighbor and with journalists near the blocked-off area.
Barbara Morris, 65, is staying in the neighborhood and said the police response was massive and lasted for hours. “It looked like the Army was here,” she said, saying that some officers wore military-style uniforms and at one point what looked like a military vehicle pulled onto the street. She showed a reporter a photo of the big tan vehicle. marked “Sheriff.”
She said her grandson enjoyed watching the officers move around. “It went like a well-oiled machine.” She said she was formerly married to a Memphis reserve police officer and that her son now works for MPD.
The incident comes on the same day that the Shelby County district attorney’s office announced it had cleared law enforcement officers in an September 2019 fatal shooting. That shooting involved Multi-Agency Gang Unit officers serving a warrant.
Investigative reporter Daniel Connolly welcomes tips and comments from the public. Reach him at 529-5296, [email protected], or on Twitter at @danielconnolly.
Memphis police shooting in northeastern Memphis leaves 1 dead