A 20-year-old black man whose Wednesday shooting death by a fugitive task force sparked a night of violence and unrest in a Memphis, Tenn., neighborhood, was wanted for a shooting in Mississippi, according to media reports.
DeSoto County District Attorney John Champion said Brandon Webber was wanted on aggravated assault and armed robbery charges related to a shooting during a car theft in Hernando, Miss., on June 3. The victim was shot five times and survived, Champion said.
Hernando is 35 miles south of Memphis.
U.S. Marshals with the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force went looking for Webber at a home in Memphis’ Frayser neighborhood Wednesday. They spotted him getting inside a vehicle, which he used to ram task force vehicles several times, officials said.
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Police retreat under a cloud of tear gas as protesters disperse from the scene of a standoff after Frayser community residents took to the streets in anger against the shooting of a youth by U.S. Marshals earlier in the evening, Wednesday, June 12, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn. (Jim Weber/Daily Memphian via AP)
Webber was shot and killed when he got out of the vehicle holding a weapon, Tennessee authorities said. It was not clear how many times he was hit or how many shots were fired.
News of Webber’s death prompted a night of clashes between police and residents in the neighborhood.
Around 36 police officers suffered minor injuries due to bricks and rocks being thrown at them and several police vehicles were damaged. Several officers were taken to hospitals and were later released, according to a Memphis Police Department tweet.
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Officers used tear gas and closed off streets to disperse the protestors. Rev. Andre E. Johnson, who was among those in the crowd Wednesday night, said the community was upset about why the marshals wanted Webber. He called him a beloved member of the community.
“The problem with it is they feel that police and the administration and city officials do not treat them as humans,” Johnson said. “That’s what it really boils down to: You are not worthy of an explanation.”
Three people were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. One of the three was also charged with inciting a riot.
Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings speaks to reporters after a late Wednesday clash with police and an angry crowd early Thursday, June 13, 2019, in Memphis, Tennessee. Armed officers and an angry crowd faced off late Wednesday night after reports that at least one man was fatally shot by authorities in a working-class north Memphis neighborhood. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)
The department reported 15 vehicles were damaged, along with five from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
Police and elected officials appealed for calm and patience Thursday while the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation conducts a probe of the shooting.
“I need everyone to stay calm,” Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings said.
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As a precaution, officers’ days off have been canceled and every squad car will have two officers.
Laine Arnold, the press secretary for Tennessee’s Republican Gov. Bill Lee, said that the crowd’s actions on Wednesday “are not representative of the community but we stand firmly against acts of lawlessness that threaten the safety of our neighborhoods.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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