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Death Penalty Sought in Memphis Shootings That Killed Three

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for a Memphis man charged in a shooting spree that killed three people and wounded three others, spreading fear throughout the city. The announcement by Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy came in the case of Ezekiel Kelly. The September incident led to a citywide shelter-in-place order and a frantic manhunt, according to the Associated Press. Kelly, 20, was accused of killing Dewayne Tunstall, Richard Clark, and Allison Parker. Mulroy noted that the case was a random mass shooting and that Kelly has a prior conviction for aggravated assault. “This is not a close case,” Mulroy said. “The defendant is alleged to have engaged in an hourslong, apparently random murder spree, killing three people and wounding three others, and terrorizing an entire city in the process.”

At least three witnesses saw Kelly shoot Tunstall during a gathering at a Memphis home at about 1 a.m. on Sept. 7. Clark and Parker were shot later that day, as Kelly was driving around Memphis, livestreaming some of his activities. An indictment also charges Kelly with attempted first-degree murder and more than 20 other alleged offenses, including reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, commission of an act of terrorism, theft of property, and evading arrest. The shootings led to the shutdown of Memphis’ public bus system, the lockdown of two college campuses, and the halt of a minor-league baseball game. Before his arrest, Kelly carjacked at least two vehicles, and while fleeing police crashed a stolen car. The shootings occurred a few months after Kelly was released early from a three-year prison sentence for a pair of shootings in 2020.


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