Popular Mid-South tattoo artist hangs himself at 201 Poplar - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Popular Mid-South tattoo artist hangs himself at 201 Poplar

Brad Lackey Brad Lackey

By Janice Broach - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Friends and family of a popular tattoo artist were stunned to learn of his recent suicide at 201 Poplar.

Mid-South Tattoo artist Thomas Brad Lackey, the father of two children, spent two days behind bars at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center before he hanged himself in his cell, investigators said.

Shannon Howell-Lackey's ex-wife told me they had gotten back together, but not remarried, before his death.

"It really hasn't hit me yet because I'm expecting him to just pop up," she said.

She says it all started a week ago when Lackey started arguing with her and hit her.

She called police.  When they arrived, she told officers she did not want them to arrest Lackey, but...

"He was mouthing off," she said. "They took him off to jail."

Then, police showed up at Howell-Lackey's house a couple of days later.

"They said, 'Thomas Lackey hung himself last night,'" she said.

Investigators at 201 Poplar tell Action News 5 that inmates are checked every 15 to 30 minutes. But in between those checks, Lackey hung himself with his bed sheets.

Howell-Lackey said suicide was the last thing she and Lackey's friends would expect from him.

Though he was not an angel, she said, and he had been in and out of jail for drug arrests and other problems, he was doing well and had a following.

"He had a big group of people that would just let him tattoo on them and nobody else," she said.

Howell-Lackey said her late ex-husband had a lot of friends.

"He was admired by a lot of people, and he knew that," she said.

Brad Lackey's death in the jail is still under investigation. A spokesperson for the Sheriff's department told me investigators have also contacted the FBI and asked them to review the findings.

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