MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Police said they recovered 19 guns after an estimated 30 men were spotted on a North Memphis street with assault rifles Wednesday afternoon.
Under Tennessee law, it’s no longer illegal to hold a weapon in public without a permit, but police say four of the men ran from them when they arrived, leaving a trail of guns and drugs in their wake.
One neighbor told WREG that the men initially appeared to be celebrating something as they gathered at the corner of Hubbard and Harrison.
“Taking pictures and taking selfies and stuff like that. And some of them had guns out,” the neighbor said.
After someone call police, officers showed up to find the party breaking up.
“They scattered pretty quickly when they saw the police come,” the neighbor said.
Police say the man began jumping fences and running through backyards.
Tarrence Simmons, Darring Smith and Carlos Ross were eventually arrested and charged with evading arrest and for 125 grams of what appeared to be marijuana police found in various backyards.
Marico Simpson faces an additional weapons charge since he was convicted of aggravated robbery in 2015 and therefore isn’t allowed to possess a weapon.
Police say they took a total of 19 guns into evidence, including several assault-style rifles and one gun with a silencer on it.
Two of the guns had been reported stolen.
“We were hoping they wouldn’t start shooting, you know, that was the biggest concern,” said Robert Johnson, who saw police escorting one of the men away in handcuffs. “There were a lot of kids out at the time and if they started shooting, no telling how many casualties you could have had.”
Two of the men are listed as living on Hubbard, and a neighbor told WREG that it’s not uncommon to see large groups of armed men gathered on the corner.