MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A suspect in Tennessee died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound while fleeing Sunday after a series of shootings that killed four of his female relatives and seriously injured a fifth person, police said.
Officers found the body of Mavis Christian Jr., 52, in his car during a chase following shootings at three locations in Memphis that left three women and a teenage girl dead and a teenage girl critically injured, the Memphis Police Department said. .
Police said Christian was related to the victims, but could not immediately specify how they were related. The names of the victims have not yet been released.
“We are deeply saddened by Saturday’s tragic and senseless shootings…which resulted in the deaths of four innocent family members and a fifth victim seriously injured,” the police department said in a statement posted on social media. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their loved ones as our community mourns more lives taken by domestic violence.”
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said “incidents like these shake us all to the core.”
The suspect’s uncle, Melvin Christian, said he did not know what may have sparked the violence.
“I haven’t seen him in years,” Melvin Christian said when we reached him by phone on Sunday.
He said he did not know any details about the shootings, including who had been shot. When he was told that four people had died, he responded, “Oh Lord.”
Memphis police officers responded to a reported shooting at 9:22 p.m. Saturday in the 100 block of Howard Drive. Police found a woman with an apparent gunshot wound who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators determined there were two other connected fatal shootings. On Field Lark Drive, a woman and a 13-year-old girl were killed and a 15-year-old girl was seriously injured. Another woman was found shot to death on Warrington Road, Memphis Police Officer Christopher Williams previously said.
Police believed Mavis Christian Jr. was responsible for the shooting and began a search involving local, state and federal law enforcement agencies until her body was found.
His criminal record dated back to a 1996 aggravated assault charge, the Commercial Attraction reported, citing court records. He also faced felony charges of domestic violence, aggravated assault, robbery and vandalism in 2018, the newspaper also reported.