Police identify man killed in Midtown standoff

Police shoot, kill man involved in stand-off situation
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 viewer)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 viewer)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Police shot and killed a man during a standoff in Midtown on Wednesday morning.

Police say James Greenwell, 31, sat on a front porch surrounded by empty alcohol bottles as police asked him to drop put his gun down. When he refused, police evacuated the neighborhood surrounding the 700 block of N. Auburndale near Jackson Avenue.

"We were told we could evacuate at first, and then they said, 'No, you need to get to the back of the house,' because shots were fired," said a neighbor who only wanted to be identified as Kelly.

Kelly said she and her daughter were home Wednesday by coincidence.

"I should be at work and my daughter should be at school, and normally we walk right pass that house to take her to school," she said.

Greenwell's father called police to tell them his son was drinking, had a mental illness, and already opened fire inside of the house.

As police tried to get Greenwell to surrender, they say he pointed his gun at the officers and opened fire. Three officers returned fire, fatally shooting Greenwell.

No police officers were injured.

The scene kept Travis White separated from his girlfriend and 4-year-old son.

"I was sitting in my van and standing around, walking and pacing for a good 2 1/2 hours before they finally sent a detective down to get me," said White, whose family was trapped inside their house during the standoff.

Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong arrived shortly after the shooting.

"We are officers who go out every day protecting citizens, and it's very nerve racking for an officer, for a director to hear that some of his officers have been involved in a shooting," Sgt. Alyssa Macon-Moore said.

Kelly says she's surprised something like this happened in her neighborhood.

"It's safe and that's what so surprising," she said, "I mean we've never felt unsafe at all until this morning."

Despite losing her sense of security at home, Kelly says her faith in Memphis Police Department has never been higher.

"They made sure we were safe," she said. "The whole time there were two officers on our front porch. The whole, entire time, and I cannot say enough great things about them."

"This can happen anywhere," White said. "Make sure you hug somebody tonight. I don't care who it is. Find somebody, if you have to."

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