MPD on alert over retaliation threats posted to social media

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Days after chaos erupted in the streets of Frayser over the deadly officer-involved shooting of a 20-year-old man, more threats of violence are surfacing on social media.

Police say they are aware of posts threatening riots at Wolfchase Galleria in retaliation for Wednesday’s shooting of Brandon Webber by U.S. Marshals.

Many parents say their teens saw the threats on Snapchat.

“I just hate it because Memphis has a lot more to offer than just you know – people see that stuff and that’s not what Memphis is,” Steven Jones said.

People posted warnings to Facebook and Twitter, urging others to stay away from the mall this weekend.

“Don’t go to Wolfchase this weekend,” one post read. “Gang members are threatening to retaliate against normal citizens.”

In a post Friday, someone else wrote, “If you have sense do not go to Wolfchase Mall tomorrow. I have good word that there will be a protest/riot for Brandon.”

“I understand the frustration, but I really just don’t see too much of a need to do all that,” Brandon Coker said. “Peaceful protests is one thing, but going out and being violent and destroying property – there’s just no room for it.”

MPD tells WREG, “We are aware of these posts and are monitoring.”

Police, however, wouldn’t elaborate or tell us if they’ll have extra patrols at the mall this weekend, or whether they believe the threats are credible.

WREG has covered a handful of violent crimes at the mall in the past few years alone.

In 2015, a man’s car was sprayed with bullets as he tried to leave the parking lot after an argument.

The next year, a flash mob and fight broke out inside.

That same month, a man was shot in the mall as it was filled with Black Friday shoppers.

And in 2017, a huge fight in the food court led to a stampede and ended with a man being shot outside.

In an already tense time for the city, people are hoping we don’t see even more violence this weekend.

“It’s stupid,” Jones said. “We just need to do better in Memphis.”

Investigators say U.S. Marshals shot and killed Webber after he rammed their cars and got out of a stolen car with a weapon as they tried to serve him with an arrest warrant for allegedly shooting and carjacking a man last week in Hernando, Miss.

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