MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two people are facing charges after an employee at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was killed along the Riverfront during an apparent robbery.
Police responded to a shooting on Tennessee Street and West Butler Avenue by Butler Park just before 8 p.m. Sunday.
Officers reportedly found a man suffering from gunshot wounds on the scene. Police say he went to the hospital in critical condition. He later died.
Memphis Police said the suspects fled the scene in a white Toyota Camry.
According to police, the investigation led officers to the area of Whitney Avenue and Steele Street Monday afternoon, where they recovered the Camry and detained Marious Ward, 23, and Brandy Rucker, 22.
Ward and Rucker were charged with first-degree murder, first-degree murder in preparation of an aggravated robber, especially aggravated robbery, criminal attempt first-degree murder, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and criminal attempt aggravated robbery.
Police have identified the victim as 32-year-old Alexander Bulakhov. St. Jude confirmed Monday that Bulakhov was an employee and released the following statement:
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of a valued member of the St. Jude community. Our thoughts are with Alexander’s family and we are working to support them during this difficult time.”
The homicide happened feet away from Al Quesada’s home and where Memphians enjoy the Mississippi riverfront. Quesada says he has lived on Tennessee Street for nearly five years.
“We came down thinking it was in our driveway, but it was four homes down,” he said.
A Memphis Skycop and multiple surveillance cameras are providing little comfort following this recent homicide.
“We felt that we were safe. We walk to FedExForum, but this is going to change our lives a little bit,” Quesada said. “It’s changing the way we look at things, the way we walk downtown, what time. We are just a little nervous.”
The latest crime data, according to Memphis Police, shows the number of murders and homicides in Memphis this year have already far surpassed last year’s numbers.
Mayor Jim Strickland is devastated by yet another senseless tragedy in Memphis.
“My heart was broken. And then obviously I prayed for the family immediately,” he said. “The overall message needs to be, if you commit a crime and you’re arrested, you will be treated extraordinarily seriously. If it’s a violent crime, zero tolerance.”
While it may be too late for Mayor Strickland to turn the numbers around before his term is up, Mayor-Elect Paul Young has plans to try and do just that.
“Those negative incidents do not define who we are. We are talking about one percent of our population that’s terrorizing our whole city,” Young said.
Young said the violence in Memphis isn’t just killing our community, but also our reputation.
“We have to change that narrative. We need people to understand who we are as Memphians are people who love our city, our culture, our character, our vibe that’s unmistakable. Those are the things that should define who we are. Not the negative incidents we have seen take place,” he said.