Homeowner Not Charged After Attempted Burglary Turns Deadly

Local News

An East Memphis man is not facing charges, after Memphis Police say he opened fire on two burglars in his home. 

Local 24 News learned the two men later died from their injuries.  The shooting happened around 7:00 p.m. Friday in the 1700 block of Myrna Lane, close to Overton High School. 

The homeowner told Local 24’s Annette Peagler, he believes this break-in started as retaliation towards his friend.  He says one of the suspects came to the home weeks before the shooting claiming that the homeowner’s friend owed him money. 

“You know you see your stuff ransacked, your puzzled and you trying to figure out what’s going on,” the homeowner said.

Memphis Police identified the suspects as 28-year-old Azell Witherspoon and 17-year-old Demond Robinson.  The homeowner, who wanted his identity hidden for safety, said he came face to face with the two men inside of his home Friday evening. 

“He picks up his weapon, he turned around and pointed it at me,” the homeowner said. 

He further explains the gun jammed and that’s when both suspects ran to the kitchen. 

“I’m assuming they were trying to go out of my back door so as they go through there I jumped in the closet and get my AK 47,” he said. 

When that homeowner came back to the front of the house, he found both suspects on his patio.

“He was shooting aiming at my play cousin, so I just let loose. Not knowing I hit both of them,” the homeowner explained. 

Neighbors, who have lived in this community for years, were shocked to hear the gunshots, especially so early in the evening. 

 “You don’t want it to happen you really don’t ever want it to be that close to you and your family,” said Charles Harris, a neighbor of the victim. 

The homeowner says the suspects appeared to be in their teens. 

 “Gun crime, violence, it’s getting out of hand in Memphis,” the homeowner stressed. 

He told Local 24 he never intended to take a life, he was just trying to protect himself. 

“I was just fast, rational thinking,” he said.  

“It was them or it was me, and unfortunately they was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The homeowner says he was released from police custody Saturday morning and he is not facing any charges tonight.  He tells Local 24, he plans to move because of this incident. 

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