‘Mobile mass shooter’ goes on rampage, local woman killed
Suspect in custody, Mid-South community shaken by man’s senseless violence
By RALPH HARDIN
Memphis, Tennessee has a reputation for violent crime. And last Wednesday, the city’s propensity for violence bled over into Crittenden County.
Four people were killed when 19-year-old Ezekiel Kelly allegedly went on a random shooting spree across Memphis. Three other shooting victims were also injured.
Police said Kelly was taken into custody in the area of Ivan Road and Hodge Road in Whitehaven but not before the entire Mid-South spent hours gripped in terror as rumors of Kelly’s whereabouts circulated.
Memphis Police _rst warned people in Memphis to be on the lookout for Kelly at 7 p.m. after a citizen alerted them of a Facebook Live that showed him shooting people at random Wednesday. Kelly had started his shooting rampage well before 7 p.m.. Kelly killed his _rst victim in an overnight shooting on Lyndale Ave. at 12:56 a.m., and after taking a lengthy break, he began what police are calling a “mobile mass shooting” around 4:30 p.m.
According to court records, there was already an active arrest warrant out for Kelly Wednesday morning after he killed a 24-year-old man on Lyndale Ave. One of his victims was a local woman, Allison Parker, of West Memphis, a nurse for Dr. Trent Pierce’s family medicine of_ce in West Memphis.
Timeline of ‘Mobile Mass Shooting’
■ 12:56 a.m. – MPD said police responded to a shooting in the 3100 block of Lyndale Avenue in North Memphis. One person, a 24-year-old man, was pronounced dead. Five other people were present at the time of the shooting, but they were not injured, MPD said.
Memphis Police later linked this shooting to Ezekiel Kelly’s alleged shooting spree.
■ 4:38 p.m. – MPD said of_cers responded to a shooting in the 900 block of South Parkway East. MPD originally reported this shooting was on East Parkway South, but later corrected it to South Parkway East. One man was pronounced dead at the scene.
■ 4:40 p.m. – Police responded to a shooting at I-240 at Norris Road where a woman was shot in the leg. She was transported to Regional One in non-critical condition, MPD said.
See RAMPAGE, page A3
Allison Parker (left) was one of four people killed in last Wednesday’s mass mobile shooting. Suspect Ezekiel Kelly (right) was arrested late Wednesday night in Whitehaven, Tennessee.
Traffic camera footage of the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge on I-55 on Wednesday evening shows Arkansas law enforcement agents poised to take action if suspected mass shooter Ezekiel Kelly had attempted to drive into Arkansas.
Photo courtesy of TDOD RAMPAGE
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■ 5:59 p.m. – Police responded to an AutoZone store in the 4000 block of Jackson Avenue in North Memphis where a man was shot in the abdomen. According to MPD, he was transported to Regional One, and he remains in critical condition.
This shooting was broadcast live on a Facebook Live stream on a page named Zeek Huncho, believed to be Ezekiel Kelly’s pro_le, which has since been deleted.
■ 6:12 p.m. – A citizen noti_ed police of Kelly’s alleged Facebook Live live that was streamed from the page by the name of “Zeek Huncho”, making them aware that Kelly was at large, armed and dangerous, MPD said.
After MPD was made aware of the Facebook Live, they were able to connect the series of shootings and multiple crime scenes and activate an all-posts bulletin response.
■ 7:00 p.m. – Police made citizens aware that there was a mobile mass shooter on the loose who was responsible for multiple shooting across Memphis. MPD gave a description of the vehicle Kelly was said to be driving, and told people to be on the lookout.
■ 7:23 p.m. – Police responded to a woman shot on Poplar Avenue and Evergreen Street. The woman who was shot died after suffering multiple gunshot wounds.
MPD said the suspect carjacked the woman, taking her grey Toyota SUV.
■ 7:24 p.m. – Police responded to a shooting at Poplar Avenue and North McLean Boulevard, MPD said. One man was transported to the hospital in non-critical condition.
■ 7:30 p.m. – The University of Memphis went on lockdown around 7:30 p.m. in response to a shooting at Patterson and Southern Avenue, feet from the university campus.
The university said there were shots _red near Patterson and Southern, but there was no threat at the university.
Campus Police said they were working with MPD on an “active shooter situation,” referencing the mobile mass shooting.
■ 8:40 p.m. – AutoZone Park goes on lockdown during Memphis Redbirds game around 8:40 p.m., in response to public danger, citing the mobile mass shooting. Players were ushered off the _eld and fans took refuge in the press box. AutoZone Park and the Memphis Redbirds suspended their game after the stadium was forced to go on lockdown.
■ 8:47 p.m. – In lieu of the danger announced by MPD regarding an active shooter in the Memphis area, MATA’s trolley and bus services were suspended inde_nitely.
The Memphis Area Transit Authority resumed trolley and bus service for one _nal run. Service resumed as scheduled Thursday morning.
■ 8:55 p.m. – MPD responded to a shooting at the 800 block of West Raines Road in Whitehaven.
One woman was pronounced dead at the scene, MPD said.
■ 8:56 p.m. – Southaven Police reported a carjacking at a Raceway gas station on Stateline Road near I-55, SHPD said.
A grey Dodge Challenger was taken. A driver recognized a man believed to be Kelly and ed the scene. That driver was not injured.
■ 8:58 p.m. – Memphis Police started a high-speed chase northbound on I-55 near Stateline Road that ended near Hodge Road and Ivan Road in Whitehaven.
Police surrounded the car and waited for tactical units to arrive. MPD issued a shelter-in-place order for Hodge and Ivan Rd. area.
■ 9:21 p.m. – MPD took Kelly into custody without further incident. Police lifted the shelter-in-place order at Hodge and Ivan.
Following the news of Parker’s West Memphis media coordinator Nick Coulter said, “The tragedy in Memphis affected our community as well. Allison Parker, a nurse for Dr. Trent Pierce was a victim of this tragic violence. Please keep her friends, family and co-workers in your prayers. Join us, along with Mayor McClendon as we continue to pray for our city and our nation.”
A multi-jurisdictional manhunt for Kelly included law enforcement of_cials on both sides of the river.
As the chaos ensued across the entire Mid-South, many North Mississippi, West Tennessee and Northeast Arkansas residents hunkered down, with some even going on lockdown, those following the news on TV and online began to hear conicting and inaccurate updates and those in the community struggled to stay informed during Kelly’s hours-long reign of terror.
For hours, West Memphis police dedicated themselves to watching the I-55 Bridge in the event that Kelly might attempt to cross the Tennessee state line into Arkansas.
Just before 7 p.m., the city was informed the suspect may have stopped in the southbound lanes after coming into Arkansas.
“It put everyone on heightened alert,” DeWayne Rose, the city’s Emergency Management Director said. “You have of_cers traveling at high rates of speed to intercept the suspect. So, there is always some hindering if the information is not correct.”
The story even appeared briey on the KAIT 8 Jonesboro news station’s web site, along with a photo of a long line of police cars on the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge.
However, reports of the suspect entering Arkansas turned out to be false.
Rose said West Memphis received the information through a “game of telephone” because the city can’t communicate with other departments through radio.
This type of misinformation being provided to the city happens “a lot more than people think,” Rose said.
He explained West Memphis is the only Crittenden County city not able to communicate with other agencies, which is why he said miscommunication about what was actually happening on the I-55 bridge was provided to the city, and ultimately, the media.
“The problem is we just have that delay of information because we don’t have that radio-to-radio communication,” Rose said In an effort to ensure that sort of communication breakdown doesn’t happen in the future, the city is in the process of getting hooked up to the Arkansas Wireless Information Network, a digital network that will allow any public of_cial to communicate with other of_cials in Arkansas, Memphis, and Mississippi.
Rose said having the system will mean the “difference between life and death, that is a very realistic statement because time is of the essence when you’re out here on the street.”
The goal, he said, is to make sure when incidents across the Mississippi happen, police in Arkansas have the most accurate information to respond and save lives.
“It is crucial for this to be able to talk and make this outcome more successful,” Rose said.
The city of West Memphis said they have had communication issues like this before. Most recently, it happened with the closure of the Hernando DeSoto Bridge.
The goal is to have the new systems, expected to cost around $6 million, in place by summer 2023.
No motive for the violence has been released by investigators at this time. Kelly is currently in police custody in Memphis with no bond on slate of charges.