08/28/2003

Police Officer Shot to Death Responding to Violence Call

Officer Down: Patrolman Anthony L. Woods - [Memphis Police Department, Tennessee]

By Jody Callahan
callahan@gomemphis.com

August 28, 2003

A Memphis police officer was shot and killed early Wednesday evening after responding to a domestic violence call in the Parkway Village area.

Patrolman Anthony L. Woods, 35, a seven-year veteran of the Memphis Police Department, died about 9 p.m. after being taken by helicopter to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis. The suspect in the killing was also fatally shot and a woman was wounded. Police did not release their names.

Woods, an officer in the East Precinct, leaves his wife, Andrea, a deputy jailer at 201 Poplar. Woods and his wife are the parents of two boys and a girl, all under 15.

"It's really a tragic time for the Memphis Police Department and the city of Memphis," Police Director James Bolden said.

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, who arrived at The Med just before 10 p.m., decried the "senseless act of violence."

"This is one of the most distasteful aspects of my job as mayor, to come to The Med and have to meet with families of deceased firemen and policemen," Herenton said. "It's something you never get accustomed to."

Details remained sketchy late Wednesday night, but according to police, this is what happened:

Sometime after the call came in at 7:20 p.m., Woods - alone in his patrol car - arrived at 2737 Tarry Park in the Parkway Village Townhomes.

After Woods entered the residence, the suspect shot a woman who was inside, wounding her in the arm and leg. She remained in noncritical condition at The Med Wednesday night.

A struggle ensued between Woods and the suspect, and Woods was shot once in the head, Bolden said. Police are uncertain if Woods was able to fire his gun.

The suspect tried to escape out the back, but a second officer confronted him. The suspect was shot and killed.

Police were awaiting a ruling by the Shelby County medical examiner on who fired the shots that killed the suspect.

Numerous fellow officers - including Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell - went to The Med, in a show of solidarity. Many of them cried or consoled one another. One man, describing himself as a fellow East Precinct officer, called Woods "mild-mannered and easy going."

"He was just a good guy," he said.

Police cordoned off the apartment complex on the south side of American Way, east of Getwell. The shooting occurred near the intersection of Tarry Wood and Claudette, just inside the main entrance on the north side of the complex.

At one point, within an hour after the shooting, officers cleared American Way to Getwell to allow an ambulance, escorted by police, to leave the scene.

A bank of squad cars with blue lights flashing were parked near the scene. But onlookers were kept about a block away.

- Jody Callahan: 529-6531

Reporters Clay Bailey and Chris Conley contributed to this report.
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