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Tenn. officer killed, 2 others wounded in shootout

Interim Memphis Police Director CJ Davis identified the fallen officer as Joseph McKinney and said he had been on the force for about three years

Officer Joseph McKinney

Davis identified the officer who was killed as Joseph McKinney.

Memphis PD

Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Tennessee police chief made an impassioned plea to her community to help stop gun violence after a Memphis police officer and an 18-year-old suspect were killed as officers investigated a suspicious vehicle early Friday.

A second suspect, who is 17, was in critical condition and another Memphis police officer was injured but not in critical condition, interim Police Director CJ Davis said at a news conference. A third officer was grazed and treated at the scene.

“We’re not just concerned about, you know, our officers. We’re concerned about the public in general,” David said. “This could have been anybody. And we’re just really, really disturbed at the boldness and the use of weapons in just all these different situations that we’re seeing in our community.”

Davis identified the officer who was killed as Joseph McKinney and said he had been on the force for about three years.

The 18-year-old suspect, whom she declined to identify, was arrested last month in a stolen vehicle with an illegally modified semiautomatic weapon that converted it to what the chief described as a “fully automatic machine gun.”

“He was also charged at that time for two stolen vehicles and having a programming device commonly used to steal cars,” Davis said. However, he was released without bond. Messages left with the Shelby County prosecutor’s about the release were not immediately returned.

Davis said she did not know what prompted the original call reporting the suspicious vehicle. The officers were fired upon when they approached it, and they returned fire, she said. The suspects drove off but stopped a few blocks away. One suspect was taken into custody immediately. They second fled but was found nearby.

Police have contacted both the prosecutor’s office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which was already out on the scene Friday morning, she said.

Davis’ voice broke briefly as she spoke of how police employees are hurting and said that stopping gun violence has to be the work of the entire community.

“We have a family that’s grieving now. We have a wife that’s grieving now. We have the family of the suspects that are grieving now. And as a community, we have to do better. We have to, you know, ensure that parents know where our young people are at 3 o’ clock in the morning,” she said.

Mayor Paul Young also attended the news conference.

“We need our parents to step up. We need our churches to step up. We have to be the village that is going to protect this community,” Young said.