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District attorney will not charge suspect with murder of officer because they believe other officers were involved

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Memphis Police Officer Joseph McKinney


Update: An officer killed in a shooting in Tennesee may have died from another officer’s gunfire, according to a local source.

Shelby County District Attorney’s Office is planning to request a transfer to prosecute the 17-year-old involved in the shootout that killed Memphis Police Officer Joseph McKinney and 18-year-old Jaylon Lobley to adult court for multiple counts of charges including criminal attempted first-degree murder.

When asked by local reporters, why the suspect was not being charged with first-degree murder, the district attorney’s office stated they believed the deaths were caused by other officers’ gunfire.

They “have not proceeded with a murder charge at this time because current information indicates that the Officer McKinney was killed by friendly fire,” the DA’s officer said.

“Although current information indicates friendly fire, we believe the 17-year-old’s reprehensible actions are still the real cause of Officer McKinney’s death. Should a legal avenue open up for additional prosecution, be assured we will pursue it,” a statement from their officer said.

The office is expected to pursue the following charges: 13 counts of criminal attempted first-degree murder; assault against first responder; and aggravated assault.

“Additional charges include Theft of Property $10,000-$60,000; Possessing a Firearm During Commission or Attempt to Commit Dangerous Felony; Possession Of a Prohibited Weapon; and Evading Arrest. Cumulatively, these charges carry a potential maximum sentence of 400 years,” the District Attorney’s Office statement stated.

Earlier:

Jessica Schladebeck, New York Daily News

April, 12 – A Memphis police officer and an 18-year-old suspect were killed during an early-morning gun battle on Friday, which also left another suspect and two more officers wounded.

Struggling at times to contain her grief, Interim Memphis Police Chief C.J. Davis identified the officer killed as Joseph McKinney, a member of the force since 2020. She said a second officer was in “non-critical condition” at Regional One, while a third was grazed by a bullet during the shootout and treated at the scene.

“This morning, the men and women of the Memphis Police Department are hurt. As chief of police, I am hurt,” she told reporters during an emotional press conference outside the hospital.

“Today we are here, not just to talk about what happened , but to make an appeal to our community that gun violence has to stop,” she said.

Police were responding to reports of a suspicious vehicle when the deadly confrontation unfolded in Southwest Memphis on Friday around 2:20 a.m. Those inside the car began shooting as soon as officers attempted to approach, forcing them to return fire, Davis said.

The suspects attempted to flee, leading officers on a brief chase, which came to an end just a few blocks away.

The suspects, a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old, “were apprehended at that time,” Davis added. “One suspect was taken into custody immediately. One fled the scene and was located nearby.”

They were both transported to Regional One in critical condition, and the elder suspect later died from his wounds.

Davis noted the 18-year-old was arrested last month in a stolen vehicle. At the time, he had an illegal semi-automatic rifle with a Glock switch, which converted the weapon into a fully automatic machine gun.

“He was 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.

Neither suspect has been identified, and Davis said she did not know what prompted the original call reporting the suspicious vehicle.

At the press conference Friday, Memphis Mayor Paul Young also spoke, saying the city needs a community call to action.

“We are heartbroken of the lives lost, our fallen officer, in this senseless act of violence,” he said. “We know that we as a community have to do more to hold violent offenders accountable for their actions, even our young people, we have to make sure that we are pressing for accountability.”

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation were called in to investigate the shooting.

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