Lorenzen Wright death investigation - latest updates - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Lorenzen Wright death investigation - latest updates

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Ongoing updates from the Lorenzen Wright death investigation will be posted on this page throughout the day.  Newest updates will appear at the top of the page.

Memphis police released the following statement Thursday afternoon:

On Thursday, July 22, 2010 a family member of Lorenzen Wright filed a missing persons report with the Collierville Police Department.  Wright was last seen at his ex-wife's house on Sunday, July 18th shortly before midnight.  

Through the course of the Collierville Police Department's missing person's investigation, it was discovered that a 911 call was placed from Wright's phone in the early hours of July 19th.  After extensive examination, investigators determined that the call was made from the area south of Poplar Pike and west of Hacks Cross Rd.

Due to the potential overlapping of several jurisdictions, the Collierville Police Department requested to meet with representatives from adjoining agencies.  On Wednesday July 28th at 9:00am Collierville PD, the Germantown PD, the Shelby County Sheriffs Department and the Memphis Police Department's Homicide Bureau met to discuss the investigation.

At this meeting, coordinated by the Collierville Police Department, each agency committed resources to assist in searching for any evidence related to the 911 call and the missing person's investigation.

Collierville and Germantown investigators combed the areas and interviewed witnesses while the Memphis Police Department's Air Support Unit searched the area from the air and the Shelby County Sheriffs Department deployed search dogs in the wooded areas.

At approximately 2:20 PM on Wednesday July 28, 2010 Shelby County Emergency Services Search and Rescue located the body of Lorenzen Wright off of Callis Cutoff between Hacks Cross Rd and Germantown Road in Southeast Memphis.  Memphis Police Department Homicide investigators made the scene and took over the investigation.  Through identification of dental records, the Shelby County Medical Examiner has officially identified the victim as that of Lorenzen Wright.  The cause of death has been ruled as homicide by gunshot wound.

The Memphis Police Department will continue this investigation. As is done in every homicide investigation, investigators continue to work around the clock to bring justice to Mr. Wright and his family.  

Additional details will be released when appropriate and available; many details which the media have reported will not be commented on.  Maintaining the integrity of all information and evidence related to the investigation of any crime is essential. Leaks and the dissemination of false information can have serious, detrimental effects on the pursuit and prosecution of those responsible for this crime.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton released the following statement Thursday:

On behalf of the entire city of Memphis, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to family and friends of Lorenzen Wright. Lorenzen loved Memphis, and we are shocked and saddened by the news of his passing. His talent and competitiveness on the basketball court were outstanding, and he will be remembered fondly... as a good friend and teammate. Our sympathies go out to all who knew him and loved him.

The Shelby County Medical Examiner released the following statement Thursday:

MEMPHIS, TN (July 29, 2010) -- The Shelby County Medical Examiner, Dr. Karen E. Chancellor, and her staff at the Shelby County Forensic Center are working to determine the proper identity of human remains found yesterday in Southeast Memphis. The cause of death and manner of death also will be determined. As soon as this information is established, the media will be informed to notify the public. Local law enforcement is included in this effort. The physicians and staff at the Shelby County Forensic Center send their heartfelt sympathies to family, friends, and all those who are touched by this tragedy.

The U of M athletic department released the following statement Thursday:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - After a week of hoping for the best, Tiger Nation learned Wednesday evening that former University of Memphis basketball standout Lorenzen Wright had tragically died at the age of 34.

"The entire University of Memphis athletic family is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Lorenzen Wright," said Memphis Director of Athletics R.C. Johnson. "He is and will forever be a part of the fabric that is Tiger basketball.

"Lorenzen and his teammates provided Tiger fans with so many wonderful memories and through his efforts helped continue the legacy of Memphis Tiger basketball. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lorenzen's parents, family and children."

One of the most exciting players to wear a Tiger uniform, Wright was a huge fan favorite in his two-year stint with the program. The Memphis, Tenn., native finished his career as one of the most decorated players in school history, earning All-America honors as a sophomore and Freshman All-America distinction in his inaugural collegiate campaign. A 1995 All-Great Midwest Conference first team pick and 1996 All-Conference USA first team selection, Wright is the only player in the program's history to earn first team accolades from two different leagues.

As a freshman in 1994-95, he was named the Great Midwest Conference Newcomer of the Year, as well as earning Great Midwest Conference All-Newcomer Team and USBWA All-District Team honors. Wright was selected to the 1996 Conference USA All-Tournament Team his sophomore season.

A two-year letterwinner, Wright netted over 1,000 points and stands in the No. 43 spot on the Tigers' career scoring chart with 1,026 points. The 6-foot-11 forward led Memphis in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots both years he wore the Blue and Gray and averaged a double-double for his career with 16.0 points and 10.3 rebounds. Wright finished his career with 31 double-doubles, which are the seventh-most in school history.

The freshman single-season and single-game rebounding record-holder, Wright helped lead the Tigers to back-to-back 20-win campaigns and consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, advancing to the Sweet Sixteen in 1995. During his two seasons, Memphis won the 1994-95 Great Midwest Conference regular season crown and the 1995-96 Conference USA regular season title.

Wright entered the NBA Draft following his sophomore campaign and was the No. 7 overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers. His last NBA season was 2008-09 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and he also played with the Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings.

In the fall of 2009, Wright was inducted into the M-Club Hall of Fame.

Action News 5 received the following Thursday from Rep. Steve Cohen's office:

Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9) today paid tribute to the life and accomplishments of Memphian Lorenzen Wright on the House floor.  You can see the Congressman's remarks by clicking on the link below:


Memphis Police issued the following statement Thursday morning:

The Memphis Police Department has not scheduled, and does not anticipate conducting a Press Conference today regarding the death investigation in the area of Hacks Cross and Winchester. Director Godwin hopes to release further details as soon as possible.  We must follow the appropriate legal and procedural avenues prior to releasing the identity of a homicide victim.  This protocol requires the cooperation of entities outside the control of the Memphis Police Department.

The Memphis Police Department has some of the finest homicide investigators with one of the most successful solve rates in this country.  MPD investigators are working diligently to gather the facts and solve this case as they do in every investigation.  We appreciate and respect the fact that the media has an important job to do. We simply ask that you allow the Memphis Police Department to handle this investigation as we do all investigations and we will release further details when available and appropriate.  


Lieutenant Alan Ruhl
Memphis Police Department

The Memphis Grizzlies released the following statement Wednesday night:

Memphis, Tennessee – Memphis Grizzlies Majority Owner Michael Heisley issued the following statement today regarding the death of Memphis native and former Grizzlies player Lorenzen Wright.

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Lorenzen Wright. We lost a member of the Grizzlies family. Lorenzen delighted fans on the court with his passion and off the court with his generosity in a Memphis community that watched him grow throughout his playing career at Booker T. Washington High School, the University of Memphis and the NBA.

"In his five seasons with the Grizzlies, Lorenzen played an integral role in guiding this franchise to three consecutive playoff appearances and was a member of the inaugural Memphis Grizzlies team in 2001.

"On behalf of the entire Memphis Grizzlies organization, we would like to express our sincerest condolences to Lorenzen's family during this difficult time."

Wright, a 13-year NBA veteran with the Grizzlies (2001-06), Los Angeles Clippers (1996-99), Atlanta Hawks (1999-2001, 2006-08), Sacramento Kings (2007-08) and Cleveland Cavaliers (2008-09), averaged 9.4 points and 7.1 rebounds in 336 games with the Grizzlies. He ranks in the club's all-time Top 10 in rebounds (2,386, 4th), blocks (250, 7th), games (7th), minutes (8,883, 8th) and points (3,148, 10th) and still holds the club's all-time single-game record of 26 rebounds, set on November 4, 2001 vs. Dallas.



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