A Memphis police officer who was serving a warrant was accidentally shot in the back by a fellow officer Thursday afternoon in North Memphis.
Police Director Toney Armstrong said during a news conference that Officer Willie Bryant, 32, was accidentally shot by a fellow officer while Bryant was serving a narcotics warrant with the gang unit.
The accidental shooting took place at around 1 p.m. in the 500 block of Arrington Avenue near Danny Thomas Boulevard, just north of downtown.
In the news conference, Director Armstrong said the officers were confronted by a pit bull at a home in North Memphis. The officers attempted to shoot the dog, but missed and hit Officer Bryant.
"While doing so officers forced entry into the residence and after doing so was attacked by a pit bull dog," Director Armstrong said. "Officers assigned to the entry team attempted to shoot the dog, and while doing so mistakenly shot an officer."
Officer Bryant was in plain clothes and was wearing a bulletproof vest when he was accidentally shot.
The injured officer, who has been with Memphis police for the past nine years, was rushed to The MED and underwent surgery.
He was listed in stable condition after being shot, but was downgraded to critical condition, a police spokesperson said.
Just after 7 p.m., Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams said Officer Bryant was still in surgery. Clergy had been called and they are providing his family with counseling.
The unidentified officer who accidentally shot Officer Bryant was relieved of duty temporarily, which is standard police department procedure.
A witness told FOX13 News the scene was chaotic and people were seen running everywhere.
Streets were blocked off as a motorcade of police cruisers escorted the ambulance with the injured officer inside to The MED.
The hospital is three to four minutes from where the officer was shot.
Officers surrounded the ambulance when it reached The MED as first responders transferred the injured officer on a stretch inside. At one point an officer told FOX13 News they were optimistic but later found out he was in critical condition undergoing surgery.
Several suspects were detained by police after the shooting, a police spokesperson said. One person has been arrested so far. He was removed from the house in handcuffs.
Investigators spent much of the afternoon searching the neighborhood and interviewing witnesses.
Witnesses told FOX13 News their quiet neighborhood erupted in pandemonium and chaos right before 1 p.m., after shots pierced the quiet afternoon sky.
"He was crying," recalled Chiquita Hawkins, neighbor. "People put him in the ambulance and police down there were crying, they told us to get back and we got back."
"People just running and saying they heard gunshots," she added. "I'm in the
house. I didn't even hear the gunshots. I just ran behind. The people came over here; they were just blocking it off. There were police everywhere."