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Too soon to rule murder of Whitehaven community leader as carjacking, police say

According to Memphis police, Nelson was found with multiple gunshot wounds and died at the scene. They are still looking for the suspect.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The victim of a deadly shooting Saturday night has been identified as 60-year-old Yvonne Nelson, a community activist who worked throughout Memphis. 

The shooting happened in Raleigh near Yale Road. According to police, the suspect, a woman, got away in a newer model black Infiniti sedan.

Dr. Nelson is now the second fixture of the Whitehaven community to be killed.

As of Monday night, police said at this point, that the murder of Dr. Nelson was not a carjacking incident. They couldn't release specific details because they are still investigating the shooting.

Dr. Nelson was a Whitehaven activist and people who knew and loved her told ABC24 she "was relentless when change was in order!"

They remember her as a true leader who cared. 

District 3 Councilwoman, Patrice Robinson, sent this statement to ABC24: "Yvonne, better known as Dr. Nelson, was passionate about our community. She was relentless when the change was in order! Dr. Nelson spoke on behalf of Lupus Foundations. Her voice and presence will be missed in our community. My family and I mourn the death of Yvonne and pray that God will comfort the hearts of her children and family and give them peace."

In May, Nelson was publicly recognized by the Greater Whitehaven Economic Redevelopment Corporation, Tennessee State Sen. Raumesh Akbari, and other organizations for her dedication to the Whitehaven community. Those who loved and supported her said they are grateful they were able to give Dr. Nelson her flowers while she was still alive. 

"Dr. Nelson was truly a phenomenal woman," former GWERC President Micheal Harris said. "She was tough and rough and she was always on the side of right. But it wasn't your right or my right, it was the right."

To name a few of the issues she fought for, Dr. Nelson tackled illegal dumping, infrastructure concerns, and issues with grocery stores and the quality of service they provide Memphis customers. 

Harris said Nelson would always fight the good fight. 

"She was an advocate for everyone, when you called she came," he said.

But all while looking out for her community, she was also battling with her own health problems. Dr. Nelson's mentee, Nadia Matthews, said over the last few months, Nelson has been recovering from a stroke. 

"No matter what, she's going to work. Whether she was down and out, or whether she was ill nothing was going to stop her from giving. That's her legacy," Matthews said.

Dr. Nelson leaves behind two children and a new grandchild. 

Police released pictures of the person of interest and the suspected vehicle. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with any additional information is asked to call call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-2274.

Homicide 5100 Block of Yale Road Report #2208006604ME MEMPHIS, TN - On August 13, 2022, at approximately 11:05 pm,...

Posted by Memphis Police Department est.1827 on Sunday, August 14, 2022

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