MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The suspect who was taken into custody following a reported kidnapping and police chase has been identified by Memphis police.
They charged Dedrick Thomas, 23, with especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, evading arrest to wit vehicle pursuit and being a convicted felon in possession of a gun. According to police, Thomas was the driver during the two-state chase that ended in his passenger getting shot and killed by an unidentified law enforcement officer.
An arrest affidavit for Thomas stated the kidnapping victim was in the area of 1400 Court Avenue to drop off a friend just after midnight on New Year’s Eve morning.
After she got out of the car, police said Thomas and the other suspect held the victim at gunpoint, stole his iPhone and wallet and forced him in to the trunk of their white Nissan sedan.
According to police, they then received a call from an individual who claimed he was following two kidnapping suspects in the area of Court and Cleveland. With that man’s help, police said they located the suspects’ 2001 Nissan Maxima and tried to initiate a traffic stop. The driver refused to comply and took off, eventually entering Arkansas along Interstate 40.
The driver took the Mound City Road exit but then got back on the interstate heading eastbound toward Memphis, police said.
Arkansas State Police said they used a maneuver which caused Thomas to crash his car in to the concrete median. They took him in to custody with no issue. Then, his unidentified passenger jumped from the vehicle and ran towards a wooded area, officials said. Authorities said he was armed with a handgun but did not explain how he died.
“John Doe was later found deceased after confrontation with Officers,” Thomas’s arrest affidavit stated.
A Memphis Police Department spokesperson said two officers fired their service weapons and three have been placed on administrative leave. They did not clarify if those officers fired the fatal shot(s).
Arkansas State Police are investigating the use of deadly force and will turn over their information to the Crittenden County, Arkansas prosecuting attorney.
An ASP spokesman tells WREG none of the agency’s officers are on administrative leave.
Authorities rescued the victim, 61, from the trunk of the car and treated him for minor injuries.
Shelby County court records show Thomas has a violent past; he was convicted of reckless endangerment in 2013 at age 17, accused of being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun during a violent crime in 2016 and MPD referred to him as a “known gang member” affiliated with the “Rolling 90s gang.”