Mayor Blames Suspects For ‘Friendly Fire’ Shooting

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(Memphis) Charles Cross and Lazarus Johnson didn’t pull the trigger, but Memphis Mayor A C Wharton blames them for an officer shot in the line of duty.

Willie Bryant remains in critical condition after another officer accidentally shot him during a drug raid Thursday.

Memphis Police Director A C Wharton said officers know the risk they’re taking and they do it anyway.

Dir. Toney Armstrong said they knew people were inside that house because they heard them, “You have to be able to react at a moment’s notice. We have to make life and death decisions not only about our lives but about other people’s lives in less than a second's notice. It's a very, very, tough job."

The Organized Crime officers stormed the home because the suspects were trying to get away.

That decision ended in one officer accidentally shooting another after a dog charged them.

“The thing about this is they are very good friends. They both care very deeply about each other. Both are entrenched in each others lives,” said Armstrong.

Arrington Street in North Memphis, where the shooting happened, is filled with aging seniors.

One neighbor posted a sign reading, “No crack heads allowed in this house."

The young man who answered the door when we knocked said he didn’t put the sign up and was only visiting.

“I really don't have no intel about what’s go on around here. It doesn't bother me when I come around here though,” said Jay Townsend, North Memphis.

Police say the house across the street, that police raided, was filled with drugs and enough fire power to stop the police. The suspects even had their own bullet proof vests.

“The key is officers are in jeopardy, they are in danger, whether its friendly fire or whatever. Danger is danger is danger. A bullet is a bullet is a bullet. It can take your life,” said Mayor Wharton.

Wharton visited Officer Bryant and his pregnant wife at The MED.

The mayor blames the suspects for all of this, “The officers are under more restrictions as to what they can do. And, the folks that they're up against they don't have a rule book."

Lazarus Johnson was arrested twice on gun charges.

The latest back in 2010 was dropped.

However, Charles Cross served three short prison sentences for burglary and robbery.

He apparently showed that violent streak again last night when he became mad during interrogation.

He jumped out of his chair, cursed officers and had to be forced to the floor.

The mayor blames them for the officer’s injuries.

The question is can that blame be legally transferred to the two suspects.