Updated Sep 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Memphis shooting spree leaves 4 dead, 3 wounded

A screenshot of Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis.
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn "C.J." Davis (C) speaking at a news conference in the Tennessee city early Thursday. Photo: Memphis Police Department/Facebook

Police in Memphis, Tennessee, have arrested a suspect after four people were killed and three others wounded in a series of shootings on Wednesday.

The latest: Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn "C.J." Davis said at a briefing early Thursday at least one of the shootings was broadcast on Facebook live. In another broadcast, the suspect was "threatening to cause harm to citizens," Davis said.

A screenshot of the Memphis Police alert on the gunman who's on the run after reportedly live streaming attacks online..
Photo: Memphis Police Department/Twitter

Details: Police said the first shooting occurred about 1am when a man was fatally shot, while the others happened after 4:30pm and continued until roughly 8:30pm. The crime scenes included at least seven shootings and a carjacking in Southaven.

  • The University of Memphis said in a safety announcement to students it was going on lockdown after shots were fired near the campus, noting police had asked people to say off the streets until the suspect was apprehended.
  • The Memphis Area Transit Authority said it was suspending its trolley and bus services due to "an active shooter in the Memphis area," while the City of Memphis tweeted: "If you do not need to be out, please stay home!"

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Facebook's parent company, Meta, said in an emailed statement it had been in "direct touch" with Memphis police shortly after the initial public alert was issued in the evening on the search for the suspect.

  • Facebook "identified and removed the Live content prior to the Memphis Police Department's initial public alert," said the spokesperson, Erica Sackin.

What they're saying: Facebook was "working closely with law enforcement on this matter," said Sackin, adding: "This is a developing situation and we have teams working to remove violating content related to this incident."

  • Sackin said the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism activated the Content Incident Protocol in response to the shootings and "we are working closely" with partners to take action on "the sharing of hashes of the video and other associated content with industry partners to prevent its proliferation."

The big picture: The Tennessee shootings mark the latest instance of gun violence in the U.S. and another with reports of an attack being broadcast online.

  • The shooter who killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket in May streamed the attack via Twitch, which took down the post minutes after it started. But videos have still been viewed millions of times.

Of note: Facebook has moved to tighten its live-streaming rules since the New Zealand mosque attacks terrorist broadcast the mass shootings online in 2019.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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