An off-duty officer was not taking ‘official police action’ when he was killed in a shootout with a neighbor, and there is not enough evidence to charge the neighbor with murder, a police chief said Tuesday.
Police Director Toney Armstrong told reporters that witnesses gave authorities different stories about what happened when the officer, who was on his way to work, ‘exchanged words’ with his neighbor, Lorenzo Clark, 36.
It is not clear what the two men were talking about when the conversation escalated or who fired the first shot, Armstrong said.
Officer Terence Olridge, 31, died after the shootout Sunday afternoon. Clark is being held on $100,000 bond on a charge of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
Olridge was shot multiple times as the encounter turned into an exchange of gunfire on a typically quiet street where children play in the street and ride bicycles in Cordova, a Memphis suburb.
Olridge was not in complete police uniform but he used his service weapon in the shootout, Armstrong said. It’s not clear exactly what Olridge was wearing that might have identified him as an officer.
The shooting is not being treated as a death of an officer in the line of duty ‘do to the fact that officer Olridge was not on duty at the time nor was he taking an official police action.’
While Armstrong said there is not enough evidence to directly charge Clark with the officer’s death, he did say the investigation in ongoing.
Clark told police he had a 9mm Glock handgun in his pants, took the gun out and started firing several shots in the street, according to an affidavit. Clark fired ‘several shots which resulted in a death,’ the affidavit said.
After the shooting, Clark surrendered peacefully, police said.
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