MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee police officer who was shot at a public library while responding to a trespassing complaint remained in “extremely critical condition” on Friday, Memphis Police said.
The officer was hospitalized Thursday after the shooting at the Poplar-White Station Public Library, a small building on a busy Memphis street surrounded by high-rise office buildings, restaurants and stores.
The shooting came amid heighted scrutiny nationally of how much force police use after five officers in the same department were fired last month and charged with murder and other crimes in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols. The cases weren’t connected, though the policies of the Memphis Police Department are under intense review locally and nationally.
Officers were called to the library and encountered a man who had been the subject of a trespassing call in the same neighborhood, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Keli McAlister said.
The man had started a confrontation with another person inside the library, and when two officers attempted to talk with him, he pulled out a weapon and shot one of them, McAlister said. The other officer drew his weapon, shooting and killing Torence Jackson Jr., 28, of Indianapolis, the TBI said in a statement. Jackson was a Black man. The two officers involved are also Black.
There were employees and patrons inside the library at the time of the shooting, but no one else was injured, McAlister said.
The TBI is working on the case at the request of the Shelby County prosecutor. The bureau often investigates shootings and other use-of-force incidents around the state when officers are involved.
The agency also investigated how Memphis Police officers responded in the Nichols case, which led to criminal charges against five Black officers.
Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was beaten after police stopped him for an alleged traffic violation Jan. 7. He died Jan. 10 at a hospital. Video released after pressure from Nichols’ family shows officers holding him down and repeatedly punching, kicking and striking him with a baton as he screamed for his mother.
In the weeks since Nichols’ death, the officers’ specialized unit was disbanded and two more officers have been suspended. Two Memphis Fire Department emergency medical workers and a lieutenant were also fired.