Memphis Officer Struck, Killed After 3 Shot

Posted at 4:12 PM, Jun 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-05 18:11:39-04

Memphis police said a 21-year-old man has been charged in the death of a police officer and the shootings of three others.

Police spokeswoman Sergeant Karen Rudolph said in a news release that Justine Welch faced multiple charges that included first-degree murder, vehicular homicide, attempted first-degree murder, evading arrest, and theft of property over $10,000.

According to reports, two people were taken to the hospital in critical condition after being shot on North Main about 10 p.m. Saturday. They said the suspect then ran to Bass Pro Pyramid and shot a male employee.

Police said the suspect then fled in a vehicle and later struck an officer.

Memphis Police Department Director Mike Rallings said 46-year-old Officer Verdell Smith was pronounced dead after being struck.

Smith was an 18-year police veteran who was survived by a father, fiance, son, and two daughters.

Rudolph said two people who allegedly were shot earlier by the suspect remained in critical condition, and a male employee at Bass Pro Pyramid who was shot in a separate incident has been released from a hospital.
Welch was being held at the Shelby County Jail. Jail records didn't indicate whether Welch had an attorney.

Sunday, Congressman Steve Cohen released the following statement:

“I was saddened to learn of the death of Memphis Police Officer Verdell Smith. Law enforcement put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. My heart goes out to Officer Smith’s family.”