A man suspected of fatally shooting three women and a 13-year-old girl in Memphis was found dead early Sunday with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said, ending an hours-long manhunt.
Police said the man, Mavis Christian Jr., 52, was involved in shootings at three locations Saturday in which four were killed and one was seriously injured. The shootings led to an hours-long manhunt involving local, state and federal agencies and sparked fear among residents when officials issued a warning about 12:30 a.m. Sunday that Mr. Christian was “armed and extremely dangerous.”
Police said preliminary information indicated the shootings were connected and were a domestic violence incident. All the victims were relatives of Mr. Christian, according to the police.
Police began searching for Christian Saturday afternoon around 5:40 p.m. after the first shooting on Field Lark Drive, a residential neighborhood in southwest Memphis with mostly elderly residents. According to neighbors, Mr. Christian shot a single mother and her 13-year-old daughter, and both were killed.
Neighbors said that after the first shots, a 15-year-old ran down the street screaming for help. The teenager was shot, they said, and rushed to the hospital. Police did not confirm the neighbors’ accounts.
Later that evening, police responded to two more shootings, around 1 p.m. 6:30 p.m. and about 9:30 p.m., and found a victim with a gunshot wound at each location. Both were found dead at the scene.
After an hours-long manhunt, Christian was found dead about 3:30 a.m. Sunday in a white Chevrolet Malibu that police had been chasing, with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said.
The shootings put neighbors on edge, especially since they came just over a year after another string of shootings sparked a citywide manhunt.
“I think it’s shaken the whole neighborhood, to be honest,” said Tyler Bee Singer, 22, a neighbor of the victim of the second shooting on Warrington Road. “No one saw this coming.”
As the manhunt got underway, Valita Jefferson, 55, who lives next door to the victim killed in the third shooting, said she watched anxiously from the street at the scene, which had been cordoned off by police.
“I just kept looking and wondering if he was anywhere around or when they’re going to catch him,” she said. “It was kind of scary.”
Another resident of that neighborhood on Howard Drive, Darren Hardrick, 55, said he had spoken to Mr Christian earlier on Saturday when “everything seemed normal. Then all of a sudden it happened.”
On Sunday, Mavis Christian Sr., 74, the gunman’s father, came to Field Lark Drive after hearing about the shootings on the news. “I’m surprised it happened,” he said, adding that his son “was a quiet young man. When his temper rises, it rises, I think.”
According to state records, Mr. Christian, who is on a government database listing offenders, previously received a sentence that ended in December 2019. It was not immediately clear what he was charged with or what kind of sentence he had received.
Anna Betts contributed with reporting.