Man’s Body Found at Memphis Police Impound Lot More Than a Month After Shooting

In an embarrassing incident that’s led to an internal investigation, Memphis police confirmed the discovery of a man’s body in a van that had been taken to the department’s impound lot after a shooting.

It is not known why police did not find the victim’s body in the rear of the van until Monday, more than a month after the shooting during an attempted robbery. In a news conference Tuesday, MPD Director Michael Rallings said it’s a serious situation that’s made him upset.

“This incident is unacceptable and should never have happened,” Rallings said.

An internal investigation has been opened into why investigators failed to locate the victim.

“I expect a thorough investigation to be conducted on all scenes,” Rallings said. “The victims deserve better, the family members of the victims deserve better and our citizens deserve better.”

The shooting occurred on Dec. 18 in the 3000 block of Yale Avenue in the Binghampton area.

“Officers are on the scene of a shooting,” MPD said on Twitter at the time. “Officers located a male who has been shot and xported(sic) in crtical condition. There is no suspect info available at this point.”

One 47-year-old man was taken to the Regional Medical Center in critical condition, Rallings said Tuesday. He had been shot multiple times while sitting in his vehicle, Rallings said.

A second man in the vehicle, age 55, wasn’t injured. That man told police three suspects approached and tried to rob them but the 47-year-old refused to comply with the robbers. The shots were then fired.

The second victim wasn’t hurt. Rallings said the police have since lost contact with him.

Police looked for three suspects but didn’t find them, Rallings said.

The van was taken to the MPD impound lot at 465 Klinke Ave. Investigators were unable to speak with the wounded man until Jan. 22 due to his injuries, Rallings said.

He was released from the hospital the next day. According to Rallings, the injured man told investigators that he’d been in the van with one other person.

The body was discovered about 2 p.m. on Monday when the wounded man went to MPD’s impound lot to retrieve his van, which had been towed from the crime scene.

That’s when a dead unidentified man with a gunshot wound was found in the rear of the van, Rallings said. The preliminary investigation found that he was sitting in the van and fatally shot during the Dec. 18 incident.

A reporter asked if the gunshot victim might have survived if he’d been discovered sooner. Rallings said an autopsy is being conducted and could answer that question.

He said the case has been turned over to the homicide bureau. An internal investigation has been launched as well, Rallings said, as the department has also opened a review of all of the department’s policies and practices that may have allowed this to happen.

The department will take disciplinary action if necessary, he said. And he asked anyone with tips into the Dec. 18 shooting in the 3000 block of Yale to call Crime Stoppers at 528-2274.

Johanna Jones, who lives at an apartment complex on Yale, said Tuesday she saw police everywhere the night of the shooting. She recalled seeing the driver of the van shot and a passenger in the vehicle uninjured. She said the driver looked badly hurt and she was surprised to learn he survived the shooting.

She said she would often see the driver and the passenger hanging out and smoking cigarettes and drinking beer in a van in the parking lot. She said she didn’t see a third person in the van the night of the shooting and was shocked to learn a body was found in the van weeks later. She said she believes the injured driver no longer lives in the complex.

Rallings said investigators haven’t identified the dead man, but mentioned he’s Hispanic. Jones, the witness, also described the men she saw in the van as Hispanic.

Most Hispanics in Memphis are Mexican immigrants or children of immigrants, but Rallings said he didn’t know if all three robbery victims in the van were Mexican immigrants.

For years, criminals have targeted Hispanic immigrants in Memphis for armed robberies, apparently believing that they’re more likely to carry cash and that language barriers and fears of immigration enforcement will complicate police investigations.

Maurico Calvo, leader of social services group Latino Memphis, said he doesn’t know any details of the case, but said he doubts the background of the victims contributed to the body not being discovered.

“That doesn’t make it any better or any worse. It’s horrible . . . Obviously, somebody dropped the ball big-time.”


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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