Home News Memphis cop-killer suspect Tremaine Wilbourn turns himself in to U.S. Marshals

Memphis cop-killer suspect Tremaine Wilbourn turns himself in to U.S. Marshals

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Aug. 03–Accused cop-killer Tremaine Wilbourn surrendered to the U.S. Marshals Monday afternoon, ending an intense two-day manhunt by both local and federal authorities.

Accompanied by a lawyer as well as family members, Wilbourn walked into the federal building Downtown a little after 4:30 p.m. Heavily armed U.S. Marshals blocked off part of Front Street outside the federal building during the surrender.

This undated photo released by the Memphis Police Department shows Officer Sean Bolton, who was fatally shot during a traffic stop, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn. Authorities have identified Tremaine Wilbourn as a suspect in the shooting. (Memphis Police Department via AP)
This undated photo released by the Memphis Police Department shows Officer Sean Bolton, who was fatally shot during a traffic stop, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn. Authorities have identified Tremaine Wilbourn as a suspect in the shooting. (Memphis Police Department via AP)

Wilbourn, 29, was later taken to 201 Poplar to be interviewed by Memphis Police Department detectives. He is expected to make his first court appearance Tuesday morning and is expected to be charged with first-degree murder.

“You have to understand, this has been an exhaustive search, both physically and mentally. This has been an around-the-clock investigation,” Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said. “I think he felt the walls closing in and felt it was in his best interests to turn himself in.”

Added Mayor AC Wharton: “(Police) worked around the clock to keep the pressure on, to let the suspect know there was no hiding place, that we were not going to relent in any way, making it an imperative that he did what he needed to do.”

Wilbourn is accused of shooting Officer Sean Bolton Saturday night in the 4800 block of Summerland Avenue in Parkway Village.

Bolton, who would’ve turned 34 this week, pulled in front of a red 2002 Mercedes-Benz that was stopped on the side of the street, police have said. Bolton got out of his squad car and approached that car, police said, but the passenger got out and a struggle ensued.

Police say that Wilbourn pulled out a gun and fired multiple shots into Bolton at close range. Police later found drug paraphernalia as well as 1.7 grams of marijuana in the Mercedes.

A man who lives in the neighborhood picked up Bolton’s police radio and called dispatchers for help. Bolton was rushed to the Regional Medical Center in critical condition but did not survive.

“I think you have an individual who went above and beyond to demonstrate that he’s a violent individual,” Armstrong said. “He committed a bank robbery and I think he’d committed a robbery prior to that. All the signs were there.”

Armstrong said he went to homicide to talk to Wilbourn after he was brought in.

“I asked him that, ‘Are you okay? Is everything okay?’ And he said yes,” Armstrong said.

“He wanted to make it a point to say, … “I want you to know that I am not a cold-blooded killer and I am not a coward,” Armstrong added. “If you remember, I called him a coward in a press conference and that did not sit too well with him.”

A reward of up to $50,000 was raised for Wilbourn’s arrest, but it’s unclear what will become of that now. Wharton said there were legal issues to be sorted out.

Wilbourn was on supervised release after a conviction for robbing the Friendship Bank in Covington in 2005.

On June 15 of that year, Wilbourn and his uncle, Adam Mackey, then 34, hit the bank and netted $2,000. At the time of the arrest, police said the pair dropped more than $7,500 as they tried to flee the scene. Wilbourn, who was 19 at the time, was sentenced to 10 years and one month in jail. The duo was ordered to repay the $2,000, plus $200 in court fees, which they did in March, according to their plea agreement.

Wilbourn was released from prison on July 1, 2014, after serving nine years. He was placed on probation for the robbery for three years.

Armstrong said he met with Bolton’s family Sunday, then called them Monday to tell them of the arrest.

“As you can imagine, they were relieved,” he said. “Certainly this is part of the healing process. It’s a long process, not only for the Bolton family but for the MPD family as well. This is just ones step in the healing process.”

Staff reporter Yolanda Jones contributed to this story.

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(c)2015 The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.)

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