Memphis, Tenn. — Police here say a man who drove around the city shooting at people killed four during an hours-long rampage that forced frightened people to shelter in place before he was arrested.
Memphis police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said 19-year-old Ezekiel Kelly was taken into custody after 9 p.m. in the Whitehaven neighborhood.
Four people were killed and three others were wounded in seven shootings across Memphis, Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said during a news conference early Thursday. The rampage began at 12:56 a.m. Wednesday and continued to about 8:30 p.m.
There was at least eight crime scenes: the seven shootings and a carjacking in Southaven, Davis said.
That was about two hours after police sent out an alert saying a man driving a light blue Infiniti was responsible for multiple shootings in the city. Police said he later switched vehicles to a grey Toyota SUV.
Police said he recorded his actions on Facebook.
As the shooter terrorized the city, public bus service was suspended and a downtown stadium where a minor-league baseball game was underway was placed on lockdown. Friends and relatives frantically called and texted each other to check on each others’ safety. TV stations cut into regular coverage to keep viewers updated.
The University of Memphis sent a message to students saying a shooting had been reported near the campus. Rhodes College, which in about 4 miles away from the university, advised students on and off campus to shelter in place.
The area where Kelly was arrested was about 11 miles from the University of Memphis and about 12 miles from Rhodes College. Police in Southaven, Mississippi, located south of Memphis just beyond the state line, said Kelly stole a car at a gas station there before he was arrested back in Memphis.
“If you do not have to be out, stay indoors until this is resolved,” Memphis police said on Twitter, before the arrest.
Rudolph told WMC-TV that police did not know of a motive for the shooting.
Anyone with information was asked to call 911.
Memphis recently has been shaken by several high-profile killings in recent weeks, including the shooting of a pastor during a daylight carjacking in her driveway, the shooting of an activist during an argument over money, and the slaying of a woman who was abducted while she was on a pre-dawn run.
“I understand it feels like so much violence and evil to experience in such a short time,” Memphis City Council member Chase Carlisle said on Twitter. “We are SO much more than this.”
Court records show in February of 2020, Kelly, 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. Circumstances of the case were not immediately known.
Records show he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced to three years in prison. It was not immediately known how much of the sentence he served.