MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — A man was shot by police after investigators say he fired shots outside the Margolin Hebrew Academy on White Station Road Monday afternoon.
Police said the man was trying to get into the school and fled the scene in a maroon RAM pickup truck with California tags.
Memphis-Shelby County Schools said all of their schools were on a precautionary lockdown as police investigated the situation.
This photo was shared with educators warning them to be on the lookout for the man.
Officers spotted the suspect’s vehicle in the area of McCrory and Gary in Berclair and initiated a traffic stop. MPD said the man got out of the pickup truck with a gun in his hand and was shot by an officer.
A resident shared photos with WREG capturing the moment officers surrounded the suspect.
The suspect was taken to Regional One in critical condition.
The Margolin Hebrew Academy confirmed no one at the school was injured during the incident.
“We can confirm that no one has been hurt in any way, and everyone is now safe, thank G-d. Please look out for further communication with additional information to come. In the meantime, our campus is completely closed. We thank you for your understanding,” the academy said in a statement.
Parents who came to the school said they were alerted by the school about what happened.
Rob and Gila Golder have two young children who attend the school and live nearby. They told WREG they have been happy about the security measures taken, including a fence that surrounds the property, on-going training, and recent active shooter training.
“The security both at this school and across this Jewish community is very, very tight, it’s very coordinated, there is a security committee that meets, we have all kinds of grants to support the security of all our Jewish institutions. I know that it has been and continues to remain a priority for the community,” said Gila.
Due to the high level of security, they can only think perhaps the accused shooter made it close enough due to on-going construction happening. MPD has not said if that is the case and no possible motive has been released.
Police have also not identified the suspect but Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) said in a statement that the suspect was Jewish himself and a former student at the school.
“We have recently learned that the shooter at the Margolin Hebrew Academy was himself Jewish and a former student at the school. I am pleased the academy had effective security and that the police acted quickly to protect students,” Cohen said.
Assistant Police Chief Don Crowe also praised the Hebrew academy for their safety procedures and officers for finding the suspect so quickly.
“Today is a great example of very vigilant officers trying to protect the city. I personally believe that we have avoided a tragedy. I believe the suspect was going to harm somebody before the day was over,” he said.
MPD Chief CJ Davis recognized the officers for their actions as well.
“I am proud of the vigilant and quick response of MPD officers who mitigated a potential mass shooting situation today. Many thanks to our neighboring jurisdictions for also providing critical information to stop the suspect’s actions,” she said.
The Secure Community Network, the official safety and security organization of the organized Jewish community, worked with MPD to identify and track down the suspect. SCN’s National Director and CEO Michael Masters said incidents like this show the importance of preparation.
“We will not choose the time and place of the next incident, but we can choose our preparation, and have strong response protocols in place. Today’s events in Memphis are a clear indicator of why this is important and how it can save lives,” Masters said.
MSCS interim superintendent Toni Williams voiced her support for Margolin Hebrew Academy and called their efforts and alertness heroic.
“We stand united in combatting gun violence and keeping our students and staff safe,” Williams said in part.
This is the second shooting outside a Memphis school in less than a week. A security guard at Freedom Preparatory Academy was shot on July 25. Senate minority leader Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) urges lawmakers to enact reforms to stop future gun violence.
“With the new school year approaching, this is the second shooting at a school campus in Memphis in less than a week. No family and no community should have to live in constant fear that gun violence may claim the lives of their children or loved ones,” Akbari said in a statement. “We are not helpless against this epidemic of gun violence. We can enact reforms that stop future gun violence. Now, it’s more urgent than ever that lawmakers come together during our special session to give police the tools they need prevent shootings from happening in the first place.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is now investigating the situation.