Memphis, TN – At least 25 police officers were injured when a riot broke out on Wednesday night after U.S. Marshals shot a fugitive who was wanted on multiple warrants.
The shooting occurred at about 7 p.m. on June 12 when the U.S. Marshals Service’s Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force tried to take 20-year-old Brandon Webber into custody, NPR reported.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) said marshals approached Webber as he was getting into his car in the Frayser community in northern Memphis.
TBI said marshals tried to arrest Webber but "he reportedly rammed his vehicle into the officers' vehicles multiple times before exiting with a weapon,” NPR reported.
WMC reported that Webber then got out of his vehicle with a rifle and was shot by marshals.
"The officers fired, striking and killing the individual," TBI said.
No members of law enforcement were hurt during the incident, but afterward, when word of the fatal shooting had spread, outraged community members gathered nearby the scene, according to NPR.
U.S. Marshals contacted Memphis police for assistance and officers arrived in regular uniforms prepared to do mostly traffic enforcement.
WMC reported that Memphis PD did not initially deploy officers in riot gear because they didn’t want to appear threatening or intimidating.
But when officers arrived on the scene, they found an angry mob of protesters waiting for them.
Protesters began throwing bottles, rock and bricks at officers as the situation escalated, NPR reported.
Officers formed a “human wall” to protect the officers investigating the shooting, according to Heavy.
Memphis police deployed officers in riot gear and officers from multiple other agencies arrived to assist.
Police eventually had to disperse a “chemical agent” into the crowd to disrupt the growing riot, NBC News reported.
Homes, vehicles, and property that lay in the path of the protesters were vandalized, WMC reported.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said that multiple police cars were damaged and a concrete wall outside a business was torn down, NBC News reported.
Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings said at least 25 officers from multiple agencies were injured during the melee.
Even reporters claimed to have been attacked by protesters as they tried to document what was happening.
Six officers were transported to the hospital for treatment of more serious injuries. Two journalists were also injured, the mayor said.
Dir. Rallings commended his officers for their restraint and asked the public to wait and not jump to conclusions about what had happened, NBC reported.
"My message tonight is that, is we should all wait and make sure we know exactly what happened before we spread misinformation or we jump to conclusions," he said.
Three people were arrested during the riot, WMC reported.