DA’s office says Memphis Police officers were justified in shooting, killing Frayser man

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The District Attorney’s Office has ruled that two Memphis Police officers were justified when they shot and killed a man in Frayser.

Officers shot 35-year-old Antonio Smith Jr. on December 26, 2019, in the 3600 block of Hallbrook Street near Corning Avenue. The officers were reportedly responding to unrelated reports of a prowler next door when they heard a woman with baby screaming, “Help. Someone’s trying to kill my baby’s daddy.” 

The DA’s office says officers were going to help the woman when they saw Smith. Smith reportedly had a pistol in one hand and a board in another as he chased a man.

The DA’s office says one of the officers stepped in Smith’s path. Both officers are said to have drawn their weapons and flashlights on Smith, identified themselves as Memphis Police and ordered him to put down his weapon.

The DA’s office claims both officers shot Smith after Smith pointed his pistol at one of the officers. The officers struck Smith twice in the chest, and he was pronounced dead on the scene.

The officers’ body cameras recorded the shooting.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation came in to handle the investigation and compile a report. The Officer Involved Death Review Team, which reportedly includes District Attorney Amy Weirich and five attorneys, reviewed the TBI’s report.

A redacted version of the report is available on the DA’s website.

“Based on the review and legal analysis of the TBI report, the two officers were legally justified in their use of lethal force in this case,” Weirich said in a statement released Thursday. “The armed suspect, who ignored their commands to drop his weapons, clearly posed a threat of serious bodily injury to themselves and to bystanders. The officers had no other reasonable option but to shoot.”

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