Shelby County D.A.: “No criminal wrongdoing” by officers in shooting that killed interstate shooting suspect last year

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – The Shelby County District Attorney says officers were justified in a fatal shooting last October.

19-year-old Keyshon Parham was killed Oct. 17, 2018 as officers from several agencies were trying to arrest him on several warrants, including for at least one interstate shooting. A deputy was injured in the incident.

Below is the news release from the D.A.’s office:

An officer-involved shooting death of a criminal suspect last year in which another officer was critically wounded involved no criminal wrongdoing by the officers, said Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich.

The death of Keyshon Parham, 19, occurred on Oct. 17, 2018, at an apartment complex near 5420 Meadowlake Drive South in the Fox Meadows area where officers from multiple agencies were seeking to arrest him.

Parham was wanted on several outstanding warrants, including attempted first-degree murder for shooting at another motorist on I-240, aggravated assaults, motor vehicle thefts, and intentionally evading arrest in an automobile.

Parham jumped from a second-story window to elude arresting officers and, while wading through a small lake at the apartment complex, shouted to officers, “I ain’t going back to jail. You’ll have to kill me.” Parham, who had posed with firearms in social media posts, reached to his waistband several times as if reaching for a weapon, officers said.

A short time later, a sheriff’s deputy was shot in the thigh as Parham fought with the deputy over the officer’s pistol. The deputy said that during the struggle, Parham twisted the pistol and had it pointed at the deputy’s head before he was able to eject the magazine.

As other officers arrived and attempted to subdue Parham, one officer shot Parham in the thigh and another shot Parham several times in the right buttocks. 

“The officers described the scene that night as a melee,” Gen. Weirich said in a letter to Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. “Under the circumstances that night, (the two deputies) made split-second decisions to shoot Parham in self-defense and in the defense of others. The facts, the evidence and the law show that they used a reasonable and necessary amount of force to defend their lives and those of fellow officers.”    

DA Weirich made the finding after reviewing a report by the Violent Crime Response Team of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) which is available for viewing on the DA’s website here.

In accordance with Tennessee law and privacy standards, redactions have been made to exclude lay witness identification, social security numbers, telephone numbers and home addresses. Also, the names of officers, investigators and others involved in the case have been redacted.  

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