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Officials: Memphis man shot dead was a 'violent' fugitive

By Nicholas Sakelaris

June 14 (UPI) -- Authorities say a Tennessee man shot and killed by U.S. Marshals this week, in an incident that led to backlash in Memphis, was the prime suspect in a shooting and car theft.

Brandon Webber, 20, was shot by U.S. Marshals in Memphis' Frayser neighborhood on Wednesday. Members of a task force that included U.S. Marshals were serving an arrest warrant for multiple felonies when they saw him in a vehicle that matched the description of one that had been stolen. They said he rammed police cars before getting out with a handgun, and was shot.

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Webber was accused of using a phony Facebook account and phone number to set up a meeting with a man selling a red Infiniti online. Officials said after the test drive, Webber shot the car's owner five times at close range. Wednesday night, Marshals were attempting to arrest him on charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

"The Marshals were dealing with a violent suspect," DeSoto County District Attorney John Champion said. "It wasn't something where they shot up into Memphis to find someone and this occurred. He was a violent felon that did not want to go to jail. He had no appreciation for the value of human life so the Marshals Service knew that when they went into it."

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Tony Farese, attorney for the Southern Police Benevolent Association, said he expects the Marshals to be cleared in the shooting.

"Shot five times and left him for dead," Farese said. "That is why the Marshals had to fire on self-defense."

Police said they're searching for a second suspect.

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The shooting Wednesday triggered protests in Memphis that led to injuries for 25 police officers and several arrests. Officers wore riot gear in response to the violence.

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