Memphis policeman dies after being hit by car during pursuit

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 05, 2016 8:59 AM

(Reuters) - A Memphis police officer died after being struck by the vehicle of a fleeing suspect, who was being pursued following several local shootings, authorities said.

Officer Verdell Smith, 46, died shortly after being hit at 10:20 p.m. on Saturday, Memphis Police Department Director Michael Rallings said at a news conference.

He was killed while police responded to reports of three shootings in two locations. The suspect had fled by car, Rallings said.

He said the victims of the shootings were also hospitalized, and two were in a critical condition.

Police eventually apprehended the suspect and he was taken to a hospital in non-critical condition, Rallings said. It was not immediately clear how the suspect, who was not identified, was injured.

The investigation was ongoing, and no charges were immediately filed, Rallings said.

"I am angry this morning - angry at the senseless loss of a dedicated public servant, and angry at the absolutely unacceptable level of violence in our city," Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said in a statement posted on social media. "We must not accept this as our norm."

Smith worked for Memphis police for 18 years, Rallings told reporters.

(Reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Fla.; Editing by Alison Williams)