MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One of the last people to make eye-to-eye contact with the man allegedly behind a mass shooting in Memphis said he is thankful to have walked away alive.
Demetrick Porter was at a gas station in Southaven when he came face-to-face with Ezekiel Kelly, moments before Kelly was captured by police after a string of shootings that killed four and injured three Wednesday night.
“I am still kinda shaken up and shocked,” Porter said. “I was just glad he didn’t shoot.”
It was the height of hysteria Wednesday as a gunman was on the move, stealing cars, shooting people and raining down terror on the city of Memphis.
Porter was at a Raceway station in Southaven around 8 p.m. that night, filling up his tank. He was aware of what had been going on in Memphis and even watching the suspect on Facebook Live.
“Somebody is just killing people out here. I mean, I was on point. I was focused, like prepared like, I just didn’t feel like he was gonna come to Mississippi,” he said.
And he didn’t know he was about to come face to face with the man police were looking for until a gray car pulled up beside him at the gas pump. He remembered it as a Hyundai, although police say it was a Toyota.
Porter said the driver pulled up very close to his Challenger on the passenger side. He said he could tell the man wasn’t there to get gas.
“He cracked the window and he approached me by saying, ‘Hey do you have percs?’” Porter said. “He was just like, loud. You know in public, asking me do I have percs or anything like that. Which I don’t, I don’t sell drugs.”
Porter says he looked in Kelly’s eyes and knew who he was dealing with.
“I mean, I was so shocked. … My heart just dropped, you know. And I just tried to run around things where he couldn’t hardly see me or get an aim or shoot at me, because I was afraid that he was going to start going back crazy because I recognized him,” he said.
Porter ran in the other direction. When he looked back, he saw Kelly ditch the gray Toyota he had been in, jump in Porter’s Dodge Challenger and speed off.
Porter went inside and told a police officer that the man they were looking for had just stolen his car. A nearby officer heard the alert about Kelly being in a Dodge Challenger on Stateline Road.
The police report says the officer saw the vehicle speed onto I-55 going north toward Tennessee. The officer tried to catch Kelly but lost him near the Tennessee Welcome Center.
But by then more officers were in pursuit and within minutes, Porter’s stolen car crashed and Kelly was caught.
Now, two days after the mayhem and after learning how much terror was inflicted, Porter is counting his blessings.
“I was afraid my life could have been gone. He could have pulled up and not said anything and start to shooting at me just like he did all those other people,” he said.
The thought still haunts him and makes him nervous in some public places, knowing a suspected killer had him in sight.
“I think God had his arms around me at the time. I am one of his angels. I am just thankful,” he said.
Porter’s car was totaled and is now a part of the crime investigation. He also had two loaded weapons in his vehicle when it was stolen. Police located those guns after the car crashed.