Injured Officer Served with National Guard

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(Memphis, TN) The officer accidentally shot during a drug raid is still recovering at The MED, as of Friday night.

Officer Willie Bryant has been with the Memphis Police Department since 2003. In 2004, he was called to serve with the National Guard for more than a year.

When he returned, he worked at the Appling Farms station, where he was given several positive behavior reports.

Supervisors applauded him for rushing to the aid of fellow officers who had captured runaway robbers, and for helping the entire team lower the crime rate in their precinct by 17 percent.

He was also praised for arresting more felons and writing more moving citations than the average for his shift.

Later on, he became part of the Organized Crime Unit, that works undercover in cases similar to the incident on Thursday.

Thursday afternoon, the multi agency gang unit approached 589 Arrington Ave. to serve a search warrant. After one of the detectives knocked on the door, no one answered, but several people were heard running toward the back of the house.

The detective then kicked down the door. Another officer immediately arrested Charles Cross in the den area of the house.

Det. Bryant and another officer then moved south through the house and found Lazrus Johnson in the bedroom. Johnson ran south to the bathroom where he was detained.

In this short time frame, a pit bull charged at the officers, and one of them fired a shotgun at the dog. A pellet accidentally hit Bryant in the back.

Police found five handguns in the house, one of which had the ability to pierce through the officers' protective vests.

They also found crack cocaine, marijuana, and more than $1,000 possibly from drug sales.

Johnson was charged with possessing crack cocaine with intent to sell, possessing marijuana, and possessing a firearm while committing a dangerous felony.

Cross was charged with the same crimes, in addition to resisting detention.

Three others were detained but later released without charges.

The officer who fired the missed shot is relieved of duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

Police Director Toney Armstrong said that criminals handling illegal drugs are often armed now, and often use vicious dogs as a means of protection.

Mayor A C Wharton emphasized that the suspects in this case are to blame for the dangerous situation in which the officers had to act quickly.