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Man With Chicago Ties Charged With Killing Memphis Cop

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A man with ties to the Chicago area has been charged with killing a police officer with a car in Memphis, and shooting three other men.

WREG-TV in Memphis reports 21-year-old Justin Welch has been charged with first degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder.

Police said Welch stole a car from a gas station in Memphis, shot two men outside a bar and restaurant, then shot a bass pro shop employee in the store parking lot, and led officers on a chase. At some point, he crashed through a metal barricade, and ran over Memphis Police Officer Verdell Smith, killing him, according to police.

According to WREG, witnesses said the crime spree started when Welch started yelling at a group of people outside a restaurant, and shot two men point-blank. A few minutes later, he allegedly drove a Silver Chevy Camaro into the parking lot of a nearby bass pro shop, and shot a store employee, then fled the area, later striking Smith during a police chase.

Welch allegedly abandoned the stolen car, and was later caught in a foot chase.

According to court records, in 2013, Welch pleaded guilty to one count of felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in Cook County, and was sentenced to two years' probation. He later was charged with violating probation, but the case was dismissed.


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