Black Memphis Police Director Says “All Lives Matter” After White Officer Was Gunned Down During Traffic Stop

Black Memphis Police Director Says “All Lives Matter” After White Officer Was Gunned Down During Traffic Stop

*UPDATE* 8pm EST

Tremaine Wilbourn, who is the primary suspect of the fatal shooting that left 33-year-old Officer Sean Bolton dead, turned himself in and is currently in custody after being wanted on a first-degree murder warrant.

He spoke to the department’s director after he turned himself in just after 4:50 p.m. EST on Monday, according to WRAL.

“He wanted to make it a point, to say that I want you to know one thing. I asked what was that?” Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said Monday. “He said I want you to know that one, I’m not a cold-blooded killer and two, I am not a coward.”

Armstrong had used that word to describe Wilbourn during the intensive two-day manhunt.

“I think he felt the walls closing in and thought it would be in his best interest to turn himself in,” Armstrong said.

Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong had a powerful message for the community and reporters after white 33-year-old Officer Sean Bolton was fatally shot during a traffic stop Saturday night by a black male still at large.

“As a community we say so often as a theme — black lives matter. And at the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves, do all lives matter?  Regardless of race, creed, color, economic status, what profession that person holds,” Armstrong said.

“All lives matter. And this is just a reminder of how dangerous this job is,” he added.

WMC Action News 5 – Memphis, Tennessee

“One life is too many, but how do you put a value on somebody’s life? How do you say one life is more important than another,” Armstrong said later during the press conference held Saturday night. “So, again, what we need more than anything right now is just your prayers again for this MPD family as well as this officer’s family.”

Police say the Officer Bolton was shot multiple times during a traffic stop and had been with the department since 2010. Armstrong said they received a call to report the shooting from a citizen who used a police radio. 

CNN reported that the officer had seen a car that was illegally parked and pulled in front of it, where he illuminated the vehicle with his spotlight. When Bolton approached the car, he was confronted by a passenger and a struggle ensued before the passenger shot Bolton multiple times.

Both the driver and the suspect fled the scene before the vehicle’s driver later turned himself into police and was later released without charge.

“It was found that Officer Bolton apparently interrupted some sort of drug transaction. A digital scene and a small baggie of marijuana … were located inside of the vehicle,” Armstrong said during a press conference.

On August 1, 2015 at approximately 9:18pm Communications was alerted by a citizen through one of our officer’s radios…

Posted by Memphis Police Department est.1827 on Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office has identified the suspect as a 29-year-old black male named Tremaine Wilbourn, who is still on the run. They are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Tremaine Wilbourn is identified as black male who fatally shot Officer Bolton during traffic stop.

Tremaine Wilbourn (Image source: Facebook)

Bolton’s death is the third police officer killed in the four years Armstrong has been leading the force, he said during the Saturday night press conference.

“We’ve been here before, sadly to say,” Armstrong told reporters. “We’ve been here before.”

“It doesn’t get any easier,” Armstrong said. “This is a very difficult time, not only for me as director, but for all the officers that you see standing behind me and a difficult time for our city as well.”

“We’re talking about, from what we know now, routine traffic stop… results in an officer losing his life,” Armstrong added.

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