Police found the body of Mavis Christian Jr., 52, with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after he had targeted three women and two teenage girls, all of whom were related to him, according to a Memphis Police Department news release. Four of the victims, including a 13-year-old, were declared dead at the shooting scenes, and a 15-year-old girl was in the hospital with critical injuries.
Officers responded to three shootings on Sunday. At about 5:34 p.m., they arrived on a residential street to find the bodies of two of the women as well as the injured teen in what investigators suspect was a domestic violence-related attack, according to the news release from the Memphis police.
An undated photo of Mavis Christian Jr. released by the Memphis Police Department.
Christian reportedly fled the scene in a white car.
About an hour later, at approximately 6:40 p.m., Memphis police responded to a second scene about seven miles away, where they found a third woman shot dead.
Later that night, at about 9:22, police arrived at a third scene about 11 miles from the second shooting, where they found the body of the fifth victim.
Police issued a statement on X (formerly Twitter) declaring all three shootings connected, and launched a multi-jurisdiction manhunt for Christian.
Investigators found Christian inside his car early Sunday morning, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic and senseless shootings on Saturday ... resulting in the deaths of four innocent family members and a fifth victim critically injured,” police said in the statement.
Police have not identified the victims or a motive in the shootings. But a daughter of one of the victims, Selise Manuel, told Memphis news outlet WREG-TV that her mother, Ruby Manuel, had been fatally shot inside her home.
Manuel identified Christian as her uncle. She told WREG that Christian had also killed her sister, Lateisha Bobo, and Bobo’s 13-year-old daughter before coming to her home.
Manuel identified the surviving victim as her niece. She said she believes Christian carried out the shooting as part of a spat over her late grandmother’s house.
“We didn’t want him staying there,” Manuel told WREG. “He threatened my mother a few times before and my sister a few times, but we didn’t think much of it even though we should have because he went to jail for attempted murder.”
According to reports by The Commercial Appeal news outlet, Christian had been arrest in 2007 for attempted second degree murder and aggravated assault, and in 2018, he was taken into custody in 2018 for a felony domestic violence, aggravated assault, theft and vandalism. The Appeal said the arrests, however, did not lead to convictions.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.