Memphis Protests Ignited After 20-Year-Old Honor Student Brandon Webber Was Fatally Shot By US Marshals

Memphis Protests Ignited After 20-Year-Old Honor Student Brandon Webber Was Fatally Shot By US Marshals

Here’s what we know about the shooting.

Published June 14th

On Wednesday, June 12, 20-year-old Tennessee native Brandon Webber was shot and killed by U.S. Marshals during an altercation outside his family’s home in Frayser, a neighborhood in North Memphis.

According to the U.S. Marshals Service, several of their officers were attempting to arrest Webber on several felony charges. When they encountered Webber to serve the arrest warrant, he was allegedly getting into a car outside his family’s home.

"(Webber) reportedly rammed his vehicle into the officers' vehicles multiple times before exiting with a weapon. The officers fired striking and killing the individual. No officers were injured," Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.

No officers were injured, and officials have declined to state what kind of weapon Webber may have had.

Little details were released immediately after the shooting, but his father, Sonny Webber, and Shelby County Commissioner, Tami Sawyer, said Webber was shot “16-20 times.”

Authorities have not confirmed how many times Webber was shot.

After the fatal shooting, a series of demonstrations, protests and riots broke out around Memphis.

At least two dozen police officers and two journalists were injured during the riots. Six officers were taken to the hospital who mostly suffered from minor injuries.

As the investigation into the shooting continues, more information is being released about Webber, his personal life and his final moments.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Who was Brandon Webber?

    Brandon Webber was an honor student at Central High School in Memphis and was enrolled at the University of Memphis. As a high school student, Webber served as a member of an organization called Facing History and Ourselves. For three years, Webber made visits to other high schools to host "teach-ins” and spoke with other students about important topics like the Holocaust, race in America and immigration, reported the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

    "We worked closely together in the program our sophomore and junior year," Webber’s friend Ema Wagner told the Commercial Appeal. "He was such a good leader. He was so free-spirited and easygoing. He could just talk to anyone. ... He made everyone feel a part, and he didn't ever leave anyone out."

    Webber, who is the father of a 2-year-old son, was expecting another child with his girlfriend, Alorea Hardwick. Shortly after his killing, Hardwick went into labor with their baby girl.

  2. What was Webber’s criminal history?

    Although officials have not released much information surrounding Webber’s most recent arrest warrant, public records indicate Webber has only faced charges twice before. In 2017, he faced misdemeanor gun charges after Memphis police found a gun in a car wherein he was a passenger. The charges were eventually dismissed.

    Then in 2018, Webber was arrested on felony drug charges when police found about 13 grams of marijuana in a car he was driving. Prosecutors later dropped those charges, court records show.

    During a news conference on June 13, DeSoto County District Attorney John Champion said Webber visited a man in Mississippi to purchase a car he saw a listing for on Facebook.

    Champion said Webber is accused of shooting the man five times during a test drive and stealing the car. The U.S. Marshals were attempting to arrest him on charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault, and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

  3. What do we know about the fatal U.S. Marshals shooting?

    The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released a statement saying U.S. Marshals were attempting to serve warrants to Webber when he brandished a weapon.

    “Preliminary information indicates that at approximately 7 p.m., multiple officers with the United States Marshals Service – Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force encountered a male, wanted on multiple warrants, outside of a home in the 2000 block of Durham Street as he was getting into a vehicle.  While attempting to stop the individual, he reportedly rammed his vehicle into the officers’ vehicles multiple times before exiting with a weapon. The officers fired striking and killing the individual. No officers were injured,” the statement read. 

    “This remains an active and ongoing investigation, as TBI Special Agents and Forensic Scientists continue to work to gather any and all relevant interviews and evidence.  As in any case, TBI’s investigative findings will be shared with the District Attorney General throughout the process for her review.”

    No Memphis police officers were involved in the shooting.

  4. What happened during the riots?

    Wednesday night after the shooting, protests broke out around the city of Memphis. As U.S. Marshals and other law enforcement agencies investigated the scene of the shooting, a crowd of over 300 demonstrators took to the streets.

    According to the Daily Memphian, officers with the Memphis Police Department were called in to help with traffic control. During the protests, some individuals began throwing rocks and bricks at Memphis police officers.  

    Police officers in riot gear then used tear gas in an effort to disperse the crowd.

    Mayor Jim Strickland released a statement saying six of the city’s officers were injured in the riots.

    “Let me be clear, the aggression shown towards our officers and deputies tonight was unwarranted,” Strickland said in his statement.

    A reporter and a photographer were also injured. Luke Jones of WREG-TV said he went to the hospital for a contusion after being hit in the head.

  5. How can you help Webber’s family?

    A GoFundMe fundraiser was started in Brandon Webber’s name, which will raise money for funeral expenses, trust funds for his children and an independent investigation into the shooting.

    “If you know Brandon you know all he wanted was to be the best father he could for his children,” the page says. “Let’s show the world that Memphis will stand up for Brandon the way he stood up for Memphis.”

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: WSB-TV)

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