Memphis Cop Killing Suspect in Custody, Says He's 'Not a Coward': Officials

Police say suspect felt the "walls closing in on him."

ByEMILY SHAPIRO and DEAN SCHABNER
August 3, 2015, 9:28 PM

— -- The man wanted for the fatal shooting of a Memphis, Tennessee, police officer has turned himself in, ending an intense two-day manhunt, police said.

Tremaine Wilbourn, 29, surrendered to the U.S. Marshals Office at the Memphis federal building with his family and an attorney, Memphis Police Department Director Toney Armstrong said.

"We have always been one step behind him or one step ahead of him," Armstrong said at a news conference. "I think he just felt the walls closing in on him."

Wilbourn, a convicted bank robber who was out on supervised release, was identified Sunday as the suspect in the killing of Memphis police officer Sean Bolton, who was killed Saturday night as he investigated an illegally parked car.

Armstrong said he spoke to Wilbourn after he was in custody, and said the suspect told him "I want you to know that I am not a cold-blooded killer and I am not a coward," apparently responding to the police director's description of him Sunday.

Here is a closer look at how the incident unfolded.

THE TRAFFIC STOP:

Saturday night, Memphis police officer Sean Bolton saw an illegally parked 2002 Mercedes-Benz, police said.

Bolton pulled in front of the car and shined his spotlight inside.

Bolton then went up to the car, where he engaged in a "brief struggle" with the car's passenger, according to police.

THE SHOOTING:

PHOTO: Memphis police officers gather at Regional Medical Center, Aug. 1, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn., after officer Sean Bolton was fatally shot during a traffic stop in Memphis.
Memphis police officers gather at Regional Medical Center, Aug. 1, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn., after officer Sean Bolton was fatally shot during a traffic stop in Memphis.
Mark Webe/AP Photo

The passenger, identified as Wilbourn, allegedly shot Bolton several times, police said. Wilbourn and the car's driver fled on foot after the shooting.

When officers responded to the scene and searched the suspect's car, they determined "Bolton apparently interrupted some sort of drug transaction," police said.

Officers found digital scales and a bag containing 1.7 grams of marijuana in the car, police said.

The car's driver later turned himself in, police said, and was released without charges.

THE OFFICER:

PHOTO: This undated photo released by the Memphis Police Department shows Officer Sean Bolton, who was fatally shot during a traffic stop, Aug. 1, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn.
This undated photo released by the Memphis Police Department shows Officer Sean Bolton, who was fatally shot during a traffic stop, Aug. 1, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn.
Memphis Police Department/AP Photo

Bolton, 33, was taken to a hospital in critical condition. He was later declared dead, police said.

Bolton had been a member of the Memphis Police Department since 2010. Bolton was also a Marine veteran who had served a tour in Iraq, police said.

"To lose a loved one or a family member is a horrific event," Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said.

Armstrong added, "We lost not only an officer, but a great man, a dedicated servant to our community, and a family member."

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