MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A man charged in a fatal shootout with an off-duty Memphis policeman appears to have been defending himself from the officer, the man's lawyer said Tuesday.
William Massey told reporters outside a courtroom that he is representing Lorenzo Clark on state charges of being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun. Clark, 36, had a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, but it was rescheduled for Oct. 28.
Police say Clark got into an argument with Officer Terence Olridge on Oct. 11, and the dispute escalated into an exchange of gunfire between the two neighbors. Olridge, who was on his way to work when the argument started, was shot multiple times and died at a hospital.
Clark surrendered to police after the shooting, which unfolded on a street in a residential neighborhood in the Memphis suburb of Cordova. Clark was charged with the weapons violation, but there was not enough evidence to support a murder charge, Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said two days after the shooting. The shooting is not being treated as a death of an officer in the line of duty because Olridge was off duty and not taking official police action, Armstrong said.
Olridge, 31, is one of four Memphis officers who have been shot to death in just over four years and the second to be fatally shot in less than three months.
Massey said he could not discuss the cause of the argument that led to the shootout. But he did say "it appears there is ample evidence" that Clark was trying to defend himself from Olridge.
"If they are not charging him with homicide, you must assume there is a legitimate self-defense claim," Massey said.
When asked for comment on Massey's statement, Memphis police spokesman Louis Brownlee said the investigation in ongoing.
Clark is being held on $100,000 bond on the state charge. He also faces a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.