Law enforcement working to clear thousands of active warrants in Shelby County

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 9:49 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In the past week, two shooting victims who showed up at hospitals ended up getting arrested or detained because of outstanding warrants.

Law enforcement says that is just one way the thousands of warrants are cleared.

Memphis police showed up at the Cookout restaurant on Union Avenue at around 1:30 a.m. Friday after hearing gunshots. People in two different cars were shooting at each other.

“Memphis has gotten bad over the years,” said Memphis resident Eric James. “Like 20 years ago, it was nothing like this. I don’t know what’s going to call a change, but something has to happen. It’s absolutely out of control.”

Police say one man in a car was hit by a bullet.

Officers followed the car to the hospital. That’s when officers got another call that one of the vehicles in the Cookout shooting, in a black Infiniti, was involved in another shooting at I-40 and Madison.

“It’s just a common thing in this area. We’re not afraid or anything. That’s just a common thing. See it everyday,” said Nick Prskalo with Midtown Framer & Art.

Prskalo points out his shop is only open during business hours.

One thing that is different is the man injured in the Cookout shooting was detained after officers determined he had an active warrant.

July 4, James Hill went to St. Francis Hospital after he was shot on I-40 near Perkins. Police say his car had 10 bullet holes in it. Hill ended up getting arrested because of a warrant for first-degree murder and employment of a firearm. Shelby County Sheriff’s investigators say chance encounters with law enforcement are one of the ways 25,000 warrants are cleared. That’s down from more than 30,000 during the peak of the pandemic.

Most of the warrants are minor for misdemeanors and can be easily taken care of if a person turns themselves in as many people do. The sheriff’s office says field officers, the Fugitive Apprehension Team, and U.S. Marshal’s Task force go after warrants for serious crimes. Sheriff’s office figures show 3,300 warrants are cleared each month.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office can use the public’s help. If you know about someone who has a warrant out for their arrest, call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.

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