Memphis Day of Terror leaves family and friends bereft

MEMPHIS, TN — A day of terror that left four dead and three injured in a Tennessee town this week blew a hole in the hearts of those left behind: the grandmother of three children left without parents, the man who lying next to his deceased best friend and refused to leave, the daughter whose injured father is his “whole world”.

Police have so far released few details of the rampage that sent Memphis into lockdown as a gunman roamed the city for hours, opening fire on people and broadcasting some of the attacks to social networks. social.

Police arrested 19-year-old Ezekiel Kelly on Wednesday night when he turned himself in after a car chase and charged him with first-degree murder in the shooting.

Although several of the victims have been publicly identified by friends and relatives, police only released the name of the first victim, Dewayne Tunstall, on Friday.

Marcus Cash was home just before 1 a.m. Wednesday when he heard gunshots and ran outside to where Tunstall and some friends had gathered. Cash and Tunstall were so close they were like brothers, he said. When Cash saw Tunstall’s body, he simply lay down next to him.

“I had his blood all over me,” Cash said. “They couldn’t get me off the ground.”

After police arrived, they held Cash for hours as a precaution because he was so distraught, he said.

“They said I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to be out,” Cash said. “I was torn emotionally.”

When asked what he said to the police, he replied, “You better catch him before I do.”

Tunstall was featured in a report on Memphis television station WREG-TV last year after buying gas for a stranger at a local station. Olivia Jennings told a reporter she was in line behind Tunstall when she started joking with him about all the orange juice he was buying. Then he offered to buy gas for her.

The small act of kindness touched Jennings so much that she asked to take a photo with Tunstall to post online. She told the station that she wanted others to know that even though Memphis has a bad reputation, there are good people all over town.

“The young man is about the same age as my son,” Jennings said. “I would just like to know if he did something nice, people would at least say something. You know, ‘You’re a good boy.’

On Wednesday, Allison Parker, a mother of three who worked as a medical assistant at a clinic in West Memphis, Arkansas, was also killed.

Parker’s mother-in-law, Debbie Holland, said Parker’s children lost their father – his son – a few years ago. Speaking by phone about how to be with her grandchildren on Thursday, she said the killer “not only took a life” but also left the children without parents.

“She was beautiful, smart, generous, helping anyone who asked for it,” Holland said. “She didn’t deserve to die at the hands of that monster.”

A Facebook post from Dr. Trent Pierce at the Family Practice Center in West Memphis, where Parker worked, said the office mourned his death.

“Please pray for his family and all of our office staff as we try to process this senseless loss,” it read.

Rodolfo Berger was shopping in an AutoZone when he was shot shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to his daughter.

Police said Kelly streamed the shooting live on Facebook, speaking casually into the camera before opening the door to the store and pulling out what appeared to be a gun. Police said the injured man was taken to hospital in critical condition.

Jenny Berger identified the victim as her father in a lengthy Facebook post.

“Today my father was the victim of a senseless act of violence. The Memphis shooting. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she wrote.

Berger said she was in agony for hours, not knowing what happened to the man she considers her best friend.

“I love this man so much,” she wrote. “If you know me, you know he is my world.”

A person who answered the phone at Jenny Berger’s office said she does not give interviews. She wrote on Facebook that her father was recovering. A family friend organized a GoFundMe campaign to help with expenses.

“I can feel in my heart that he is so STRONG and ready for a healing journey ahead,” Berger wrote.

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Loller reported from Nashville, Tennessee.

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