Driver arrested for firing shots at police before chase

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

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A man is in jail after police said he fired shots in the area where officers were, drove away, and crashed the car.

Helicopters and police cars rushed to the crash after the vehicle caught on fire in Midtown near the intersection of Forrest Avenue and North Avalon Street. The crash happened as police chased after the vehicle.

Gunfire and a swarm of police cars interrupted Kesea Fisher's quiet evening on the porch with friends.

"Pop! Pop! Pop! I heard it three times and I ducked," she said.  "That man popped three times and we all ducked!"

John L. Smith was right next to Kesea and watched cops take off after the suspects.

"All I know," said John, "is I saw a bunch of police come down from here flying."

A short time earlier, MPD responded to a routine call near Chelsea and Woodlawn in North Memphis. While working that scene, investigators say a 2008 Chevy Impala pulled up and the passenger opened fire.

Police scanners recorded the shock in one of the officer's voices. "Shots were whizzing by our heads!" he exclaimed.

It is unknown why the guy fired in the direction of the officers, or if they were his intended target.

"We have no idea at this time," said MPD spokesperson Karen Rudolph.  "The officers were doing their job.  They were stopped when suspects drove by and decided to shoot out the window toward officers."

The suspects led police into Midtown, where they wrecked their car at Avalon and Forrest.  One was taken into custody right away.  A large section of Midtown's Evergreen District was blocked off by MPD cars as officers searched for the second suspect for several hours after the crash.

Back in North Memphis, officers walked in a grid down Chelsea Avenue, searching for bullet casings.  At the corner, a knocked-over stop sign and plastic piece of the Impala were on the ground, and Kesea Fisher was saying a prayer--grateful no one was seriously injured in the incident.

"No children [were] out here," she said, "and they could have gotten killed.  Anybody could have gotten hurt.  I thank God nobody got hurt."

An MPD spokesperson says two guns were recovered at the scene.  WMC Action News 5 was told Memphis police officers did not return fire during the ordeal.

LaDerron Easley, 24, was arrested. He is charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder and evading arrest.

The passenger of the car was also taken into custody. Police have not released the identity of this person.

If anyone has any information about this incident, they're asked to call Crime Stoppers at (901) 528-CASH.

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