Sources: Saudi Arabian shot in downtown hotel, crime connected to prostitution

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

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A man and a woman remain on the run after a shooting inside a Downtown Memphis hotel, according to Memphis Police Department.

The shooting injured two people on the seventh floor of the Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel. MPD said one of the injured men is a suspect in the shooting.

Sources tell WMC Action News 5 the victim was from Saudia Arabia and was in Memphis for special training. According to sources, the shooting is connected to prostitution.

The shooting happened just before noon on Friday inside the hotel, which is located on North Main Street between Exchange Avenue and Winchester Avenue. Investigators believe it all started with an attempted robbery.

"I was just sitting in the room and I head that bang," tourist Nicholas Appling said.

The two suspects who remain on the run are believed to be a man and woman, both about 19 or 20 years old.

MPD released the following descriptions of the suspects:

  • Female suspect: female/ black, early 20s, 105 lbs. 4'10", one ponytail with gold ends, wearing gray UofM T-shirt, multi-color leggings (red,yellow , gray, purple), white flip flops, and light complexion.
  • Male suspect: male/black, early 20s, 5'7", medium build, dark complexion, wearing black gym shorts trim in red, black tennis with white soles, white T-shirt with logo "Warning" with a second row of unreadable words, red Chicago Bulls baseball cap with a gold bid.

New doctors were accepting their doctorates nearby at Memphis Cook Convention Center. The building was evacuated for a short time. Some graduation festivities were postponed or canceled.

Logan Drew was one of the U.T. Health Science Center graduates who officially became a doctor today.

"We were here for a good day celebrating something we worked hard for," Drew said. "We got what we came here to get so in the long run it's disappointing, but it's not the biggest thing in the world."

Caroline Hymel's boyfriend was one of the students graduating. She said the shooting disturbed the normal festivities, but she's keeping a good attitude.

"I'm not going to let it ruin a good moment for us though," Hymel said. "It really does break my heart, because his parents aren't from here and he's not from here. I wanted to show them the good part of Memphis when they're in town right now, and I hate that this is the first thing that they have to see."

The Sheraton hotel was never evacuated, but it was placed on lockdown for about three hours as police investigated the shooting.

"They were clearing the building and trying to find the guys," Appling said.

Hotel patrons said management made an announcement over the PA system asking everyone to stay in their rooms.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital also went on lockdown as a precaution and released the following statement:

Earlier today the Memphis Police Department responded to a shooting at the Downtown Sheraton Hotel. The health, welfare, and safety of patients, their families and staff at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital are our top priorities.  As a precautionary measure, St. Jude is limiting travel entering campus to scheduled employees, patients and their families only. This is just a precautionary measure. The Third and Lauderdale Street Gates will be closed until further notice. All other gates are fully operational.

Police were called back to the area, just behind the Sheraton, for another shooting Friday night. There were no injuries reported in that shooting and no suspect has been located.

There is also a police presence in the area due to 901Fest.

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