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Man who rammed police cars killed in Poppen Drive shooting

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by: Jerrita Patterson
Updated:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A tip from a viewer, led FOX13 to the Cherokee area.

We started digging into what led to a deadly shooting. What we learned after pressing police for answers, is a man gunned down Friday evening is the same person the day before–detectives were trying to track down following an assault on two officers.

Alberta Hankins told FOX13 , police saturated the area after investigators were called for unusual activity.

“He was acting like a wild man, I saw him down the street,” Hankins said.

Neighbors said the man seen was Billy Ray Sanlin.

FOX13 contacted police six hours later they confirmed Sanlin was the person described by Hankins as being that ‘wild man.’


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“He was just going around in circles talking out of his head,” Hankins described. “And he had something that I thought was a cell phone, I don’t really know what it was.”

We found an old mugshot of Sanlin, and his family gave us a picture of the 36-year-old, father of two, after stopping by the home he shared with his mother.

If the name Billy Ray Sanlin sounds familiar, it’s because police spent hours Thursday looking for him. FOX13 was there when K9 units searched a South Memphis area. Police also looked by air.

Detectives told FOX13, the reason for the massive manhunt is because Sanlin rammed two squad cars Thursday when police tried to arrest him for robbery and assault warrants.

A day later and seven miles from the original search area, Sanlin re-emerged.

“Something’s going on with him, this is not right,” Hankins said.

Peeking out was Larry Hampton–who told FOX13 in an exclusive interview Sanlin rushed for his truck.

“He took a chair off the back of the truck and broke the back window out,” Hampton said.

Hampton also said he tried to negotiate with the man terrorizing the neighborhood, but to no avail.  Hampton then said he was forced to fire two rounds, however things did not end there.

“It just got fast motion,” Hampton aid. ¬†“At that point I fired two or three more shots.”

Hampton said he had no other choice as he watched Sanlin reach for a gun inside the truck.

“If he would have gotten that particular firearm it could have been devastating,” Hampton said.

It was a tough decision, Hampton said he was forced to make, to protect himself, his family and his neighbors.

“It’s saddening,” Hampton said.

Memphis Police told FOX13 in an email ‘all evidence was presented to the District Attorney General’s office and it was determined that no charges will be filed at this time.’


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