The 19-year-old police say is responsible for several shootings in Memphis Wednesday afternoon is in custody, ending a two-plus-hour standoff that left four dead and three wounded.
Police said around 9:20 p.m. officers arrested Ezekiel Dejuan Kelly in Whitehaven. About three hours later, police and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland spoke to the media inside City Hall.
At the press conference, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis linked Kelly to a string of shootings in Memphis. Authorities said formal charges will be filed in the shooting suspect.
The Memphis Police Department, after receiving a call from “a concerned citizen” at 6:12 p.m., launched a citywide search for Kelly. The caller had told police that Kelly was on Facebook Live threatening to “cause harm to citizens,” according to Davis.
Davis said that’s when he was notified by MPD, with police advising people to stay indoors around 7 p.m. while they were looking for the suspected perpetrator.
The Southaven Police Department said on Twitter that officers responded to a vehicle theft around 8:53 p.m. at 580 Stateline Rd., Raceway Gas Station in Southaven. Police said officers immediately knew Kelly was the suspect and then swarmed the area with law enforcement.
Police confirmed Kelly was in custody after issuing a shelter-in-place warning for an area in Whitehaven.
Kelly has previous arrests for attempted first-degree murder and reckless endangerment in 2020.
He was sentenced to three years but was released on March 16 this year. Police issued a first-degree murder warrant for Kelly Wednesday night.
Police warned people to be on the lookout for Kelly in a gray Toyota with Arkansas license plate AEV63K after initially reporting she was driving a Toyota with a red dealer tag and a broken rear window.
The Facebook videos Kelly posted earlier Wednesday were removed from the platform that evening. Kelly’s Instagram account was also taken down on Wednesday night.
MPD also confirmed at the press conference that two different cars were stolen throughout the search for Kelly, as he moved from an original blue or silver sedan to a gray SUV before allegedly carjacking a man at a Southaven, Mississippi, gas station for the his gray Dodge Challenger. .
“The suspect is still at large,” police said in a tweet at 8 p.m. “If you don’t need to be out, stay home until the problem is resolved.”
Amid the investigation into the suspected shooter, the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) has suspended bus and trolley service indefinitely.
“MATA leaders are acting with an abundance of caution and care for the safety of their drivers and riders,” the public transit agency said in a press release Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.
MPD said there are reports of the man filming himself shooting and posting the videos on Facebook.
At 7:31 p.m. the University of Memphis notified the campus of a shooting in the area of Patterson Street and Southern Avenue, on the southwest corner of campus. According to the alert, the person “immediately left” the area.
In an updated warning issued at 8:09 p.m., the U of M said there is “no threat at this time at the University,” but advised students to follow police advice and stay inside.
The university locked the campus doors “for general safety” and had officers in the area on patrol.
“All University phones and the LiveSafe app have been overwhelmed by the volume of calls and reports,” the U of M wrote in its notification.
It was unclear if the lockdown at U of M was connected to the search for Kelly.
At the intersection of Poplar Avenue and McLean Avenue, a Commercial Appeal reporter saw a man injured on the sidewalk being helped into an ambulance, along with police crime tape blocking off the area outside the Midtown Health and Rehabilitation Center .
A Honda Pilot SUV was parked in the area with the windows down.
Police blocked off Poplar Avenue from McLean Avenue to North Evergreen Street Wednesday afternoon.
Local residents gathered outside their homes on North Auburndale Street Wednesday night, near where one of the incidents happened.
As she watched police work behind the crime scene, Mary Dudley said she wasn’t surprised this happened in Memphis.
“Living in Memphis is like living in every episode of Breaking Bad,” Dudley said.
Dudley said she works downtown and people often ask her “is it safe. What do you think.”
This story will be updated.
Dima Amro covers the suburbs for The Commercial Appeal and can be reached at Dima.Amro@commercialappeal.com or on Twitter @AmroDima.
This article originally appeared in the Memphis Commercial Appeal: Facebook Live Shootings Memphis: Kelly in custody, 4 dead, police say