Memphis Police identified 29-year-old Tremaine Wilbourn as the suspect who fatally shot a police officer investigating an illegally parked car during the weekend.
Wilbourn is absconding and is possibly armed and dangerous, Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said.
“You can be assured that we will continue to pursue this suspect, and we will exhaust all means until he is in custody,” Armstrong said.
According to Fox News, Officer Sean Bolton came across an illegally parked Mercedes-Benz on a Memphis street. Upon illuminating it with his spotlight and approaching the car, Wilbourn confronted the officer and shot him multiple times.
Bolton had presumably intervened a drug trade.
“It was found that Officer Bolton apparently interrupted some sort of drug transaction. A digital scale and a small baggie of marijuana … were located inside of the vehicle,” Armstrong said.
Almost 1.7 grams of marijuana had been discovered inside the car.
Wilbourn, who is on a 121-month sentence for robbing a banking institution, is on a supervised release.
“[Wilbourn] is a coward.” Armstrong said.
“You gunned down,” Armstrong said of the suspect. “You murdered a police officer, for less than 2 grams of marijuana. You literally destroyed a family.”
According to ABC News, a person of interest had been taken by the police into custody. Learning that he was the driver of the vehicle who had voluntarily turned himself in, he was released without charges.
In the last four years, three Memphis officers have been fatally shot. In July 2011, Officer Tim Warren was killed while responding to a shooting incident at a Memphis hotel.
Officer Martoiya Lang was killed in December 2012 while he was serving a warrant.
Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton Jr. said Bolton’s death “speaks volumes about the inherent danger of police work.” Wharton asked that others “pray for the family and pray for our city.”
“The men and women in blue have certain rules of engagement that they have to follow, but at any given minute in a 24-hour day they’re dealing with folks who have no rules of engagement,” Wharton said.
Armstrong highlighted that, while there have been incidents in the recent past where the police has been accused for resorting to excessive force during traffic stops, the latest incident underlines the risks that officers have to endure in their jobs.
“We say so often … do black lives matter? And at the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves, do all lives matter — regardless of race, creed, color, economic status, what profession that person holds? All lives matter,” Armstrong said, as reported by CNN.
“This is just a reminder of how dangerous this job is.”
The United States Marshals Service announced a $10,000 reward for Wilbourn’s capture.
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