John Champion

District Attorney John Champion (center) explains the charges Brandon Webber was facing in DeSoto County when federal marshals tried to arrest him Wednesday night. The 20-year-old died trying to avoid arrest, setting off an evening of unrest in the Frayser neighborhood. Listening to the comments were (from left) Hernando Police Capt. Kyle Hodge and Det. Sgt. Dexter Grimes. 

The suspect who was shot and killed by federal marshals in the Frayser area of Memphis Wednesday night was connected to a DeSoto County shooting and car theft case earlier this month.

District Attorney John Champion told reporters Thursday afternoon that 20-year-old Brandon Webber was being sought in connection with the shooting of a man and theft of the victim’s red Infiniti vehicle June 3 on Hill Street in Hernando.

The man was shot five times, but survived the wounds. He remains hospitalized but is expected to recover.

Champion added Thursday that a second suspect is being sought in connection with the Hernando car theft and shooting. It was the second suspect officials believe drove Webber to Hernando to meet the victim, who was trying to sell his car on Facebook Marketplace.

Champion added the second suspect is believed to still be in Memphis.

The Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force was asked to come in and make the arrest when it was discovered that Webber was located in the Frayser community.

When found leaving a residence, Webber resisted and rammed a law enforcement vehicle. He reportedly also pulled out a gun.

That is when marshals responded by firing at Webber, a fatal shooting that set off an evening of neighborhood unrest. About three dozen law enforcement officers and deputies were hurt trying to calm an angry neighborhood that was upset about Webber’s death.

Champion detailed the case against Webber with Hernando Police Chief Scott Worsham, Capt. Kyle Hodge and Sgt. Dexter Gates.

“A photo spread was shown to our victim, who positively identified Mr. Webber as being the one who shot him and stole his car,” Champion said. “Warrants were obtained by the Hernando Police Department. As is typically the case when a suspect is out of state, we don’t have any jurisdiction to go arrest somebody. We employ the Gulf Coast Regional Task Force U.S. Marshals Service to locate our suspects.”

The district attorney added other investigative techniques were used to determine Webber as the suspect and credited Hernando police investigators for their work in sifting through Webber’s social media presence.

They found that Webber had used a bogus Facebook account and a bogus phone number to make contact with the man he is accused of shooting five times at close range.

Champion said the marshals were warned ahead of time that Webber could be dangerous.

“When they (marshals) were up in Memphis looking for him, they were very aware of his propensity for violence toward our victim,” Champion said. “He just basically in cold blood shot him five times.”

Webber was to be charged with aggravated assault and armed robbery, Champion said. He explained aggravated assault typically involves more jail time then would an attempted murder charge.

While not wanting to speak directly to Wednesday night’s actions, Champion urged everyone to consider all the facts.

“I just wish people would sit back and just see what happened,” Champion said. “It wasn’t something where they ran roughshod into Memphis to find somebody and this occurred. This was a violent felon who obviously did not want to go to jail. They ended up having to do what they had to do to protect themselves and other people.”

As far as the second suspect is concerned, Worsham warned, “He knows who he is and he needs to turn himself in. We’re actively looking for him and we will bring him to justice as well.”

Bob Bakken is Managing Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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