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Preliminary hearing set for man accused of hijacking MATA bus with passengers onboard

According to court documents, 38-year-old Kenneth Mallory was charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm and drug possession.
Credit: Shelby County Sheriff's Office
Kenneth Mallory

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A preliminary hearing has been set for a man who Memphis Police said hijacked a MATA bus while passengers were on board and held the bus driver hostage while forcing him to drive to unknown locations, according to court records. 

Kenneth Mallory, 38, is charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm, and possession of contained substance with intent to distribute/sell.  He remains in the Shelby County jail on $150,000 bond. A mental evaluation was ordered in June, and a preliminary hearing is now set for October, according to court records.

According to the police affidavit, Monday, May 8, 2023, at about 10:40 a.m., MATA bus 4027 was traveling near Mallory Ave. near the intersection of Airways Blvd. and Brooks Rd with several passengers were onboard, when Mallory pulled out a handgun.

The affidavit said Mallory began waving and pointing the gun, and demanded that passengers get off the bus, and threatening to harm the driver and passengers. 

Passengers were able to exit the bus without being injured, the affidavit continued, and Mallory then forced the driver to take him where he wanted to go, the affidavit said.

The bus driver was able to activate the 911 emergency system on bus while taking driving orders from Mallory as he drove to an unknown location.

About 15 minutes later, officers arrived at South Front St. and Pontotoc Ave. According to the affidavit, Mallory was still on the bus and the bus driver was running away. It is unclear how and when the bus driver found the opportunity to make a safe exit from the MATA bus. 

The affidavit said officers approached the bus making verbal commands, and Mallory threw his handgun while still making threats to kill the bus driver, officers and himself. 

Investigators said Mallory was arrested, and had 18 individual bags of marijuana weighing 69 grams on him when he was taken into custody.

Editor's Note: The original version of this story showed the wrong photograph of the suspect. The story and picture has since been updated.

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