Tenn. cop hit in blue-on-blue during shootout, suspect killed
Memphis cop shot Tuesday night at a home where a suspect was killed by police was wounded by another officer
By Yolanda Jones
The Commercial Appeal
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis police officer shot Tuesday night at a Whitehaven home where a suspect was killed by police was wounded by another officer, authorities said Wednesday.
The officer was shot by a fellow officer in the arm during the fatal shooting.
Anthony Bess, 48, was shot and killed in the incident that happened just before 6:45 p.m. at 4545 Aldridge. He was taken to the Regional Medical Center and died of his injuries about three hours after the shooting. The police officer who was shot was taken to The Med in noncritical condition.
Police said officers went to the home to serve a warrant on Bess who was listed as a suspect in an aggravated assault investigation by Collierville Police.
In the Feb. 3 assault, an off-duty Memphis officer was hit by a vehicle driven by Bess while he fled the scene of a shoplifting that occurred at the Kroger on Houston Levee Road, police said.
When officers went to his Whitehaven home to serve the warrant, officers were allowed to enter by a family member. Once inside, police said Bess was holding his hands behind his back.
Officers requested repeatedly that he show his hands.
They said Bess refused at first but then pulled out a gun and pointed it at officers.
One shot was fired by an officer and Bess was hit. After this, police said an officer shot another officer in the arm.
"We are in the beginning stages of this investigation; however, I can assure you that this investigation will be thoroughly reviewed," said Police Director Toney Armstrong. "At this point, two MPD officers have been relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of this investigation."
The officers involved in the shooting will be identified once their debriefing process is complete, police said.
Even though police said Wednesday that Bess was shot once by an officer, people on the scene Tuesday night said Bess was hit multiple times.
Ebonye Bess, who rushed to the scene from Frayser after family members called, said she'd been on the phone with her dad earlier Tuesday, and that nothing had seemed amiss.
"He wasn't drinking tonight," she said. "If he had a warrant, he probably wouldn't have been home anyway. He must not have known he had a warrant."
Sabrina Owens lives down the street from the scene of the shooting, and said she and her family heard a car speed by their house.
"We were in the bedroom and we heard a car zoom up the street. We didn't think too much of it," she said. "Then we heard sirens and cars."
She said Bess had a history of trouble with police.
"Back in the day, he was a street guy. He did his thing, he did his time in jail," Owens said.
Court records show that Bess has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault, domestic assault, public intoxication, promoting prostitution and multiple counts of theft, among other offenses.
This apparently is the first time a Memphis police officer has been shot since two were wounded on Oct. 15, 2013. On that day, two TACT officers were wounded when a suspect barricaded himself in a house at 1383 Worthington. That suspect, Aaron Dumas, later died in a fire there that may have been started by police tear gas. Several officers were reassigned or suspended after a review.
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