Memphis, Tennessee. – Police here say a man who drove around town shooting people, killing four, during a manhunt that lasted hours and forced panicked people into hiding 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 suburb of Whitehaven, police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said. Memphis Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said during a news conference early Thursday that charges were pending.
Four people were killed and three others were wounded in seven attacks in the Memphis area, Davis said. The violence started at 12:56 am on Wednesday and continued until 8:30 pm
There were at least eight incidents of crime: seven shootings and the carjacking of a Dodge Challenger in Southaven, Mississippi, Davis said.
The suspect was arrested after he crashed during a high-speed chase from Mississippi back to Memphis. It followed a carjacking in Southaven, which is south of Memphis.
WREG-TV’s CBS Memphis reports that the suspect got into a confrontation in Memphis, refusing to get out of the car, which the police surrounded. A SWAT team was called to assist. Memphis Police say the suspect was taken into custody with the assistance of Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies.
The arrest came about two hours after police sent out an alert saying a man driving an Infiniti was responsible for a string of shootings in the city. Police said he later killed a woman in Memphis and took her gray Toyota SUV, which he left behind when he carjacked a Dodge Challenger in Southaven. Police said he recorded his act on Facebook.
In a Facebook Live video seen by a WREG employee, the suspect was seen getting out of a car, entering AutoZone and opening fire. The video was later removed from the platform.
As the bomber called Memphis, public bus service was halted and the downtown stadium where a minor league baseball game was in progress was placed on lockdown. Friends and relatives frantically called and texted each other to check on their safety. Television channels are divided into regular broadcasts to keep viewers updated.
Police received “numerous tips” from the public during the ordeal, Davis said.
The University of Memphis sent a message to students saying that a shooting had been reported near the campus.
Rhodes College, which is located about four miles from the university, advised students on and off campus to protect themselves.
The area where the suspect was arrested was about 11 miles from the University of Memphis and about 12 from Rhodes College.
“If you don’t have to be outside, stay inside until this is resolved,” Memphis police tweeted before the arrest.
Police did not discuss a motive or release the identities of those killed or injured.
It was too early in the investigation to say how the suspect obtained the gun or guns used 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 murders in recent weeks, including the shooting of a pastor during a broad daylight carjacking on his street, the shooting of an activist during an argument over money, and.
“I understand it feels like so much violence and evil happened in such a short amount of time,” Memphis City Council member Chase Carlisle said on Twitter. “We are more than this.”
In February 2020, the suspect, then 17, was charged as an adult with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault, using a firearm to commit a dangerous felony and reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, court records showed. 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 prison in March, 11 months after his conviction, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.