Memphis Mass Shooter Dead from Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound After Being Located by Police

A man wanted in the mass shooting five people, three of them fatally, in Memphis on March 26 took his own life after being located by police in Nashville Thursday.

“Authorities on scene say the U.S. Marshals tracked a wanted fugitive out of Memphis to the [La Quinta] motel,” according to WKRN. 

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Memphis Prioritizes Community Demographics of African Americans, People of Color for COVID-19 Vaccination Sites

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland assured his residents in a weekly update that they are prioritizing equity for minorities in COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts. Strickland noted that their goal is to increase African American and people of color vaccinations from 20 percent to 30 percent of total population.

A supplementary press release explained a map of their five vaccination sites. According to city officials, they coordinated the sites around matching the demographics of Shelby County at large. Some of the areas outside each site’s five mile radius include: Arlington, Lakeland, a majority of Millington, and the rural outliers of the county. The demographic makeup of these areas is overwhelmingly White.

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Memphis Has Another Violent Weekend, with Six Shooting Deaths

Memphis Police reported that six people died this past weekend in various shooting incidents. A Memphis Police spokesman, who did not identify himself, told The Tennessee Star Tuesday that seven people died. That same spokesman did not provide additional details, but he did refer us to the Memphis Police Department’s Twitter page, which reported six shooting deaths.

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Memphis IRS Employee Indicted for Allegedly Abusing Position to Help Friends and Family

Federal authorities have indicted an Internal Revenue Service tax examiner for allegedly defrauding her employer by filing false tax returns for various taxpayers in the Memphis area. A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee identified the woman as Linda Williams, 52, of Memphis.

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Full Tennessee Senate to Consider Bill to Allow First Responders to Choose Where They Live

Members of the Tennessee Senate State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday voted to advance Senate Bill 29 to allow first responders to live where they choose, allowing the bill to be placed on the calendar Thursday for the Senate.

Sponsored by State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), the legislation would ban residency requirements statewide for police officers and firefighters, the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus said in a statement. Kelsey said the bill is a matter of public safety and will allow police and fire departments to recruit top-tier first responder candidates, regardless of where they live. The lawmaker said, in particular, it will help Tennessee address a deficit of police officers occurring throughout the country.

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Former State Rep. and Sr. Advisor to Governor Lee, John DeBerry Talks About His New Role and a Very Different Democratic Party

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed advisor to Governor Lee and former Tenessee State Representative John DeBerry to the newsmakers line to talk about being ousted from the new left-wing Democratic Party and where the party is headed today.

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Tennessee Reports More Fatalities as Inclement Weather Continues into the Weekend

Tennessee remained at a Level Three State of Emergency Friday night as people in certain counties had no power during extreme winter temperatures, and officials reported more weather-related fatalities. In an emailed press release Friday, officials with the Tennessee Department of Health confirmed two weather-related deaths in Shelby County. TDH officials had previously reported two other fatalities in the county as well one fatality each in Maury, Williamson, Dickson, and Overton counties, bringing the total number of fatalities this week to eight.

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FBI Spokesman Says Nationwide Billboards Targeting January 6 Protestors Likely an Agency First

FBI officials have erected billboards seeking tips on possible suspects who breached the U.S. Capitol January 6 and, according to one agency spokesman, this is likely the first time the FBI has done this nationwide. But Joel Siskovic, speaking for the FBI’s Memphis Field Office, said members of his agency have used billboards before to find suspects — but only in limited regions of the United States.

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Joe Biden Forces Out Donald Trump-Appointed U.S. Attorney in Memphis

U.S. President Joe Biden has requested the resignation of U.S. Attorney Michael Dunavant, who oversees the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee and who was appointed by former U.S. President Donald Trump. U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Cherri Green told The Tennessee Star in an email Thursday that U.S. Attorneys “serve at the will and pleasure of the President.”

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Governor Lee Refutes Representative Cohen Claims on Shorted Distribution of COVID Vaccines

In a letter to Memphis Mayor Strickland, Governor Bill Lee refuted recent claims that the COVID-19 vaccines weren’t distributed equally to Shelby County.

“[I]t has been reported that Shelby County has not received an equitable share of vaccine doses relative to other counties across the state. However – and I want to be clear and unmistakable about this – any such claims are incorrect,” stated Lee.

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Memphis Launches ‘Group Violence Intervention Program’ to Curb Explosion of Gun Violence

Memphis launched its Group Violence Intervention Program (GVIP) in an effort to reduce violent crimes – namely, gun violence. Officials described it as a “proactive, holistic plan” that adopted models that had purportedly been successful in other cities, though it didn’t specify which ones.

According to the plan, the GVIP will have a czar overseeing three separate branches: a “focused deterrence” coordinator that works with organizations such as the police and social service agencies; a data, policy, community action coordinator that arranges volunteers for various community events; and an intervention coordinator that oversees the outreach workers and violence interrupters. 

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New Charges Filed Against Tennessee State Sen. Katrina Robinson in Fraud and Memphis Money Laundering Case

State Sen. Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis), already in legal trouble for embezzlement and wire fraud charges, learned Monday that her legal problems have only intensified. Federal officials have charged Robinson, 40, in a new case, along with two other co-defendants, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. This, according to a press release that officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee published on their website Tuesday.

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Tennessee Senate Considers Bill to Allow First Responders to Live Outside the Jurisdictions They Serve

State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) on Wednesday filed SB 29 which would allow first responders to live where they choose, the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus said in a statement.

Kelsey posted on the caucus’ Facebook page, “This is a public safety bill. It will enable us to hire more police officers, which will help us fight our rising crime rates.”

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Federal Operation to Remove Violent Criminals in Memphis Deemed Success

The U.S. Justice Department has announced the results of Operation LeGend, which first launched in Missouri and then expanded to several cities, including Memphis. “Operation Legend removed violent criminals, domestic abusers, carjackers and drug traffickers from nine cities that were experiencing stubbornly high crime and took illegal firearms, illegal narcotics and illicit monies off the streets,” said former Attorney General William Barr, in a press release that the U.S. Justice Department released Wednesday.

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Commentary: The Political Ambush of State Rep. John DeBerry

The year 2020 will go down as being known for COVID-19, social-distancing and the political ambush of State Rep. John DeBerry by the Tennessee Democratic Party.  DeBerry, a Memphis Democrat and respected statesman in the House of Representatives, was ousted by his own party back in May by a 41-18 vote by members of the Tennessee Democrat Executive Committee.

Rather than letting voters take him off the ballot, a committee of Democrats who probably never visited his district cast him out for being conservative on social issues.

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Tennessee Legislators File Bill to Increase Penalties for Drag Racing

Tennessee State Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) on Monday filed Senate Bill 14, which would, if enacted into law, classify drag racing as a Class A misdemeanor. State Rep. John Gillespie (R-Memphis), according to the Tennessee General Assembly’s website, is co-sponsoring the bill in the Tennessee State House, House Bill 0022.

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Donald Trump’s Justice Department Awards More Than $2 Million to Fight Crime in Memphis

U.S. Department of Justice officials announced Monday that they will grant more than $2 million to fight and prevent crime in Memphis and Shelby County.

This, according to a press release that officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee published on their website Monday.

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Convicted Felon in Memphis Used a Firearm to Traffic Drugs, Feds Say

Federal officials in Memphis have sentenced a man, already a felon, to prison for possessing a firearm, possessing a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

This, according to a press release that officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee published on their website this week.

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Federal Officials in West Tennessee Sentence Illegal Alien for Unlawful Reentry and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

Federal officials in Memphis this week sentenced an illegal alien to 60 months in federal prison for one count of possessing a firearm as an illegal alien and one count of illegally re-entering the United States.

This, according to a press release that staff at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee published on their website.

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More Federal Money Coming to Fight Crime in Memphis

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant this week announced $398,864 in Department of Justice grant funding awarded to the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office to hire special prosecutors to try federal firearms cases originating in Memphis.

This according to a press release that officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee published on their website this week.

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Memphis Business Fraudulently Got More Than $1 Million in COVID-19 Relief Money, Federal Officials Say

Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee on Monday announced that a Memphis-based business fraudulently obtained $1.1 million in COVID-19 economic injury disaster loans.

This, according to a press release that attorneys published on the U.S. Department of Justice’s website.

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Memphis Announces Results from First Month of Federal Crime Fighting Initiative Operation Legend

Local and federal law enforcement officers in Memphis have arrested 302 people as a part of Operation Legend, according to U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant.

“Between August 6 and September 8, 2020, federal and local law enforcement agencies in the Operation Legend Task Force have worked cooperatively to arrest 106 people on new state and federal charges,” Dunavant said in a press release.

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Memphis Barber Wins Lawsuit Against Tennessee Officials who Kept Him from Working

Elias Zarate

A Memphis man has won a lawsuit against the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners for denying him the right to work.

As The Tennessee Star reported in 2018, state officials denied that man, Elias Zarate, a barber’s license because he did not have a high school diploma.

A press release that the Nashville-based Beacon Center of Tennessee emailed Monday updated Zarate’s case. Beacon, a right-of-center think tank, represented him.

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Memphis Police Must Continue to Live in City, Per City Council

Memphis Police officers will be required to live in the city, whether they like it or not.

Memphis City Council members approved an ordinance this month that removed the question of residency from the November 2020 ballot.

Specifically, the approved ordinance rescinds Referendum Ordinance No. 5744, which might have allowed specified personnel employed within the Divisions of Police and Fire Services to reside 50 miles outside of the City of Memphis.

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Feds Expand Crime Fighting Operation to Memphis

Federal officials late last week announced an initiative, Operation Legend, to fight violent crime in Memphis and St. Louis.

“The most basic responsibility of government is to protect the safety of our citizens. Today, we have extended Operation Legend to Memphis and St. Louis, two cities experiencing increases in violent crime that no resident of those cities should have to accept as part of everyday life,” Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement.

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Justice Department Sends Federal Officers to Memphis and St. Louis to Help Quell Nationwide Violence

Memphis

Federal officers from five different agencies are set to arrive in Memphis and St. Louis to aid in crime reduction and investigations, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.

Memphis will receive an influx of 40 federal agents from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Homeland Security — 24 of which are permanent assignments, according to a DOJ press release. St. Louis is set to receive an unspecified number of agents from the ATF, DEA, FBI and U.S. Marshals Service with an additional 50 Homeland Security agents, the release said.

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Feds Charge Tennessee State Sen. Katrina Robinson with Theft and Embezzlement

Federal authorities on Wednesday charged Tennessee state Sen. Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis) with theft and embezzlement involving government programs and wire fraud.

This, according to a press release that members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee published on its website.

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Out-of-Control Teenagers Cause Disturbance at Memphis Golf Park

A group of patrons, apparently teenagers, went on a rampage Saturday at Memphis’ Golf and Games Family Park and damaged nearly $500 worth of property, according to an employee.

This, General Manager Aaron Bos said, after several parents dropped their kids off at the park and left them unsupervised. Authorities did not arrest any of the unruly patrons, and no one was injured. But someone recorded the incident on video, and law enforcement officers are currently trying to identify the aggressors based off of that, Boss added.

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Memphis-Based Varsity Spirit Founder Endorses Manny Sethi for U.S. Senate

Memphis-based Varsity Spirit founder Jeff Webb this week endorsed Manny Sethi’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

According to a press release Sethi emailed Thursday, Webb built Varsity Spirit from startup to annual revenues approaching $2 billion with 8,000 employees in all 50 states. He also founded and chairs American Populists, a political organization dedicated to restoring America’s middle class.

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University of Memphis Football Team Will Wear BLM Stickers on Helmets All Season

The University of Memphis recently announced that its football players will wear helmets with a Black Lives Matter sticker for every game during the upcoming season.

“This season, for every game, our student-athletes’ helmets will have a BLM sticker,” Ryan Silverfield, head coach of the school’s football team, wrote on Twitter.

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Steve Cohen Calls for Bill Barr’s Impeachment

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) called for the impeachment of U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr during a House Judiciary Committee hearing last week.

In a statement released before the hearing, Cohen claimed the Department of Justice “has clearly been corrupted” under Barr’s leadership. He pointed to the recent removal of Geoffrey Berman, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the Justice Department’s request to dismiss its criminal case against Michael Flynn as evidence of corruption.

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