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Memphis shooting spree suspect remains in jail without bond

Ezekiel Kelly was arrested Wednesday after going on a shooting rampage; Friday he was arraigned for the murder of the first victim.

MEMPHIS, Tenn — The man accused in a random shooting spree which left three people dead and three injured across Memphis, shutting the city down Wednesday, appeared in court Friday morning.

Ezekiel Kelly, 19, was arraigned for the murder of the first victim, Dewayne Tunstall, 24. Kelly told a judge he could not afford a lawyer and a public defender was appointed. Bond was not discussed, so Kelly will remain behind bars without bond.

District Attorney Steve Mulroy said outside court that bond is not warranted due to the violent nature of the alleged crimes.

Additional charges are expected. We're told charges for the shootings that followed that first one on Wednesday will likely be addressed at his next court hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.

The murder of Dewayne Tunstall

Tunstall, also known as Amir Dineroo, was shot just before 1 a.m. Wednesday in the 3100 block of Lyndale Avenue in North Memphis.

According to the affidavit, police said Kelly approached Tunstall while both were in the house and pulled him to the side for a conversation. Investigators said Kelly then drew a handgun and fired several shots in Tunstall's direction, hitting him in the head. 

Five other people were present at the time of the shooting, but they were not injured, MPD said. Police said those five were able to identify Kelly from a six-person photo lineup as the shooter.

The shooting spree

Memphis Police first warned people in Memphis to be on the lookout for Kelly at 7 p.m. after a citizen alerted them of a Facebook Live which they said showed him shooting people at random Wednesday.  The random shooting rampage began as early as 4:38 p.m.

What MPD didn't know was that Kelly was the same person they had issued an arrest warrant out for Wednesday morning after they said he killed Tunstall on Lyndale Ave.

RELATED: 4 killed and 3 injured in Memphis shooting spree | A timeline of the rampage

Kelly's criminal history

In February 2020, Kelly, then 17, was charged as an adult with attempted first-degree murder and other crimes in two shootings committed a few hours apart. Both victims survived but did not cooperate with prosecutors, according to court records, and Kelly pleaded guilty to reduced charges of aggravated assault in April 2021.

Kelly was sentenced to three years in prison, but was released in March after serving just over two years behind bars, including credit he received for time he was jailed prior to his plea.

Months before his release, Kelly was denied parole in September 2021.

Ahead of that decision, he said at a parole board hearing that he had left high school during 11th grade because he had an anger management problem. On an assessment for inmate risks and needs, a parole hearing official said he scored high for “violent,” according to a recording of the hearing.

“I was going to anger management,” Kelly, then 18, said at the hearing. “I didn’t know how to cope with it at the time because I was a teenager.”

He said he had been “affiliated” – meaning, with a gang – but wasn’t anymore, saying, “as I got older, I separated myself from that type of groups.” He said he previously worked at a fast-food restaurant and a poetry club.

At the time, his fiancée wrote a letter to parole officials, saying the couple had talked about Kelly going to trade school and starting a new life.

In recommending against parole, the hearing officer in part cited “the seriousness of your offense, being that someone was shot – I know that you said that you weren’t there – but you do have the conviction.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Credit: Shelby County Jail
Ezekiel Kelly

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