Pastor spoke to Wilbourn during manhunt, convinced him to surren - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Pastor spoke to Wilbourn during manhunt, convinced him to surrender

Reverend White (Source: WMC Action News 5) Reverend White (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Reverend Ralph White said he has known Tremaine Wilbourn since he was a kid. When the pastor learned police were looking for Wilbourn, he offered to help him turn himself in.

White said when police showed Tremaine Wilbourn’s picture on TV Sunday, he recognized him as one of the young men who attended basketball free play at his church, Bloomfield Baptist.

"I said ‘I've got to do something about that,’" White said.

As a minister working in the heart of South Memphis, Reverend White said he knows lots of people, from homeowners to gang members to drug dealers. Monday morning, he put word out on the streets that he wanted to help Wilbourn turn himself in, and received a call from one of Wilbourn’s friends.

After a brief conversation, Tremaine agreed to meet at a park. Reverend White and Tremaine’s friends were in White’s car and an attorney and several more of Wilbourn’s friends were in another car. Their plan was to drive to the federal building and Wilbourn would turn himself in to federal marshals.

White described Wilbourn as calm, but he said there were a lot of tears and prayers during the ride to the federal building.

"The young man that was riding with me, he said he had talked to Tremaine and Tremaine was at one point talking about ending it all. He was really thinking about maybe just killing himself," said White.

White said he did not talk to Wilbourn about what happened the night officer Bolton was shot. He said his main goal was to help Wilbourn make it into custody peacefully.

"I have to look at it from the perspective of what would Jesus do,” said White.

White said he knew that Tremaine has been in trouble in the past and the right thing to do was turn himself in.

"What he did was wrong, just like anybody else who kills somebody is wrong, but we've got to look at okay, that was wrong,” White said. “What do we do right to correct for the wrong? And that's how I have to look at it.”

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