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September 01, 2020 10:27am
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Memphis police officer killed during shootout with teens, one of whom was recently released

A Memphis police officer was shot dead during a shootout with two suspects early Friday. Two other police officers were also injured, as was a second suspect.

A Memphis, Tennessee, police officer and an 18-year-old male suspect were killed during an early morning shootout Friday – with the deceased suspect having been arrested last month with an illegal weapon and subsequently let go without bond, law enforcement officials say.

A second officer was also struck and is in non-critical condition while a third officer was grazed by a bullet during the gunfire. A second suspect, a 17-year-old, was also shot and is expected to survive, police say. 

Officer Joseph McKinney, who joined the department in 2020, was shot dead when police responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle at Horn Lake Road and Charter Avenue in Whitehaven, about nine miles south of Downtown Memphis, Interim Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn "C.J." Davis announced during an emotional press briefing Friday.

When officers approached the dark-colored sedan, they were fired upon by the two suspects inside the vehicle, Davis said. 


Police immediately returned fire and the pair sped off in the car only to stop a short time later in the area of the 400 block of Hewlitt Road as officers gave chase.

One of the suspects was immediately apprehended while the other ran off but was later caught nearby, Davis said.

The suspects were rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition and the 18-year-old was later pronounced dead, Davis said. The pair have not been identified. 

She said that McKinney was also struck and succumbed to his injuries.


"We have a wife that’s grieving now," Davis said. "We have the family of the suspects that are grieving now."

"The men and women of the Memphis Police Department are hurt right now. As chief of police, I am hurt right now," Davis said. "Once again, senseless deaths in our community by gun violence."

Video from the scene shows the suspects’ vehicle riddled with bullet holes, with the rear window glass shattered. 

Davis revealed that the 18-year-old who died had been arrested inside a stolen vehicle last month where he was armed with a modified semi-automatic weapon with a Glock switch attached. 

"The Glock switch converted the weapon to a fully automatic machine gun," David said. 

He was also charged at that time with two stolen vehicles and having a programming device commonly used to steal cars, Davis said, and was released without bond. 

In 2023, the city recorded a record-breaking 398 homicides

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