On Sunday, police asked for the public's help in finding the man identified as the suspect in the fatal shooting of Sean Bolton, a 33-year-old Memphis police officer whose death has sparked outrage and a city-wide manhunt. Bolton died after he was shot several times during a routine traffic stop Saturday evening. So who is Tremaine Wilbourn, the suspected gunman?
Wilbourn, 29, is believed to have been a front-seat passenger in the 2002 Mercedes-Benz stopped by Bolton, authorities said. According to police, a drug buy was apparently in progress — roughly 1.7 grams of marijuana was discovered in the car — which would have only amounted to a misdemeanor, a citation, and a fine. Wilbourn allegedly confronted Bolton during the stop and then is believed to have fired several shots at the officer, police said.
According to NBC News, Wilbourn was out on supervised release after being convicted for a bank robbery. As of late Sunday evening, Wilbourn was still at large and considered armed and dangerous. A warrant for first-degree murder has been issued for his arrest. The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a $10,000 reward. Memphis Mayor A C Wharton has also asked City Council to put up a similar reward.
Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong told reporters on Sunday that Bolton was the third Memphis Police Department officer killed in the line of duty in the last four years. Describing Wilbourn as a "coward," Armstrong vowed to use the full extent of the city's resources to catch the suspect.
I think it's safe to say that when you look at this individual, you're looking at a coward. He's a coward. You gun down, you murder a police officer for less than two grams of marijuana. You've literally destroyed a family. Look at the impact that that's had on this department, this community, this city, for less than two grams of marijuana.
The vehicle's driver turned himself in after the shooting, according to authorities, and was later released without being charged. Officials told reporters Sunday that a civilian used Bolton's radio to call in the shooting at around 9:15 p.m. One witness told NBC News that calls to 911 immediately after the shooting were unable to get through.