Suspect killed by deputy was registered sex offender with long criminal history

Sexual assault call leads to deputy-involved shooting in downtown Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations is taking the lead on a deadly shooting involving a deputy and sexual assault suspect.

Man shot, killed by SCSO

According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, the deputy was patrolling the area outside the county jail at 201 Poplar when he learned of the sexual assault report.

“While talking with the alleged victim, the woman spotted the male suspect,” said Keli McAlister, a spokeswoman for TBI. “The suspect led the officer on a brief foot pursuit during which reports of this scene indicate the individual pulled a knife and stabbed the deputy in the arm.”

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation speaks on deputy-involved shooting

McAlister says the deputy shot the suspect, 49-year-old James Kirkwood. Investigators would not say how many shots were fired.

Both the deputy and Kirkwood went to the hospital. Kirkwood died from his injuries, but the deputy was treated and released.

Right now, authorities aren’t releasing the deputy’s name.

“I was terrified,” said Jonathan Rosmond, who witnessed the incident. “I just couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t believe. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

Deputy shot in Downtown Memphis, suspect also shot

According to the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry, Kirkwood is a registered sex offender. The registry classifies him as violent.

According to the registry, Kirkwood was convicted of rape in 1993. A TBI criminal background check shows he violated the terms of the sex offender registry multiple times over the years.

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office would not share details of the alleged sexual assault that spurred Monday’s shooting.

It’s also unclear if the deputy was wearing a body camera.

Surveillance video from a nearby business shows the incident, which ended with the deputy being stabbed and the suspect being shot.


Surveillance video shows deputy-involved shooting

Bystanders rush to help the deputy as another law enforcement officer tended to the suspect.

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