MEMPHIS, Tenn. — New statistics from Memphis police show there have been nearly two times as many interstate shootings this year than WREG was aware of, but MPD’s stats don’t account for all of them.
As our Nina Harrelson found out, there have been more than two dozen shootings on Memphis interstates since January.
As recently as Thursday, we had been reporting 13 shootings on Memphis interstates since the beginning of the year. But it turns out there have actually been at least 26 – an average of more than one a week.
“People can’t even make a commute to work or, like I’m doing, just have a normal lunch break without being shot at," said driver Solomon Preyer. "It’s becoming the norm in Memphis now.”
WREG has been trying to get an exact count from police for months. We've submitted several records requests since April.
In its latest response, the city told us, “It has not yet been determined that records responsive to your request exist.”
Saturday we asked police again, and this time, were told that from January 1 to June 12 there had been 22 interstate shootings. That number doesn’t count four others that have happened since then.
The latest was Saturday morning, when the Crittenden County Sheriff's Office say a man shot his brother on the I-40 bridge. The victim was later found in critical condition at BB King and Adams downtown.
Counting that shooting, there have been four interstate shootings in the past eight days alone: One on I-40 at Hollywood last Friday, one Sunday on I-40 at Warford and another Wednesday on I-40 at Sycamore View.
“I think it’s unfortunate," said Frederick Akins, who lives in Memphis. "Recently police have been more on the interstate patrolling, and I think it’s a good thing because it renews a sense of safety among people.”
“I want answers," Tonya Driver said. "I want to know what are they going to do about this, because I would never wish this on anyone else’s family, and I feel bad for the families that this has already happened to.”
MPD says they don’t know off-hand where or when most of the additional shootings happened and that we would need to file another records request for that information.
We also asked police if they still have extra patrols on the interstates in light of all these shootings, and what they’re watching out for, but we didn’t get a response.