Riots break out in Memphis suburb after US Marshals shoot and kill suspect they say was ramming their patrol cars

A protester faces off with police in the Memphis suburb of Frayser.

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A protester faces off with police in the Memphis suburb of Frayser.
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Screengrab/Twitter/Katin Rankin

  • Crowds of angry protesters faced off with police after US Marshals shot and killed a man on Wednesday.
  • Authorities said the man was a wanted suspect who rammed into the marshals’ cars and pulled out a weapon.
  • Some protesters threw rocks and bricks at the officers, who responded by firing tear gas.
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Crowds of angry people protested and threw rocks at police in a Memphis suburb after US Marshals shot and killed a man on Wednesday.

Officers fired at the suspect in the suburb of Frayser. He was wanted on several warrants, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). They did not say what the warrants were for.

In its statement, the TBI said the US Marshals say the man allegedly rammed his car into their vehicles, and pulled out a weapon before they shot him.

Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer named the slain man as Brandon Webber, and said he was killed outside his family home.

“I was in Frayser tonight because Brandon Webber was shot 16-20 times in his family’s front yard,” Sawyer tweeted. She described Webber as having been “murdered” by the US Marshals.

Chaos broke out in Frayser near the scene of the shooting on Wednesday. Some protestors threw rocks and bricks at police officers, Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings told reporters. Photos from the scene show fragments of rock or concrete in front of officers with riot shields.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland wrote on Facebook that 24 police officers were hurt, two badly enough to be taken to hospital.

He said two journalists covering the unrest were also hurt, and that police cars and a fire station were vandalized.

Three protestors were arrested for disorderly conduct and inciting a riot, among other charges, according to Memphis Police.

Luke Jones, a local news reporter, posted a video to Twitter of men hitting a police patrol car with a chair.

Some people who said they were at the scene reported being tear gassed.

Officers had to deploy a “chemical agent” to disperse the crowds, Rallings said.

“The MPD has been very supportive of protests, but we will not allow any acts of violence, we will not allow destruction of property, we will not allow acts of vandalism to occur,” he said.

He also pointed out that the Memphis Police Department was not involved in the shooting, but only came to assist at the protest scene.

Gregory Peck, a Frayser resident who was at the protest scene, told The Associated Press: “Too many of our young black brothers are getting killed and as of right now nobody can’t tell us nothing.”