Indiana man killed in shooting at Memphis library, pastor says officer 'fighting for his life'

Investigators identified an Indiana man as the person killed during a shooting at the White Station Library in East Memphis and a church pastor identified the officer involved and described him as "mild-mannered."

Preliminary information indicates around noon Thursday officers were called to a business in 5100 block of Poplar due to an “individual suspected of trespassing,” said Keli McAlister, public information officer for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

About 30 minutes later, that same person “is believed to have got into a confrontation with a citizen” inside the Poplar-White Station library, McAlister said.

“According to initial reports, as the two individuals attempted to talk to the individual, he produced a weapon and shot one of the officers,” she said. “The second officer returned fire, striking the individual. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.”

The person that died was identified late Thursday evening by TBI as Torence Jackson, Jr., a 28-year-old from Indianapolis, Indiana.

Memphis Police officers and first responders respond to an officer involved shooting on Feb. 02, 2023 in the library located at 5094 Poplar Avenue in Memphis.
Memphis Police officers and first responders respond to an officer involved shooting on Feb. 02, 2023 in the library located at 5094 Poplar Avenue in Memphis.

The injured officer was taken to Regional One in “extremely critical condition.”

"He's fighting for his life," said Bishop Brandon Porter of COGIC. Porter was with the officer and his wife Thursday.

Porter identified the officer as 49-year-old Geoffrey Redd, who Porter described as "a mild-mannered individual." Redd is a member and director of security at Porter's church.

A few years ago, Redd was on duty when he was struck by a car. As soon as he recovered, he went back to the police department "to protect and serve," Porter said. "We have to stand with our police officers. We may have some bad apples and we have to deal with that, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater."

Porter is one of the local pastors who delivered words of comfort at Tyre Nichols' funeral Wednesday afternoon.

TBI agents are trying to determine the series of events, McAlister said. The bureau does not identify officers involved in shootings. Both Jackson, Jr. and the two officers were Black, McAlister said.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland visited with the officer's family Thursday afternoon. “Please pray for the injured police officer," Strickland said in a statement. "I spent the afternoon with the officer’s family, pastor and some co-workers, and they need to be uplifted in prayer too.”

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, also issued a statement: “While details are still emerging, I express my concern for the officer wounded in today’s incident, and I hope for a swift and full recovery. The level of violence in our city, which affects everyone from ordinary citizens to law enforcement officials, is unacceptable. I am determined to continue working with state, local and federal officials to improve public safety for all Memphians.”

Memphis City Councilman Martavius Jones wished the injured officer a swift recovery.

"Though our city has experienced great tragedies, one with the death of Tyre Nichols and another with the incident at one of its libraries, Memphis is strong," Jones said. "Together, we have what it takes to make our city safer, better for all who call Memphis home."

An email obtained by The Commercial Appeal describes only a "serious security incident," at the library. All library employees have been evacuated and are safe, the email said. Memphis police noted both Jackson, Jr., who died at the scene, and the officer were both shot.

At around 2:40 p.m., MPD began closing all lanes heading west, towards downtown, on Poplar near the shooting scene.

The incident was called in to the Memphis police around 12:30 p.m.

Jackson, Indiana state records show, appeared in twelve separate felony court cases. The charges in those cases ranged from drug possession to arson and domestic battery. In total, he was in court at least 32 times in Indiana, one of those being an appearance in front of the Indiana Court of Appeals which overturned a resisting arrest conviction.

Jackson does not appear in Shelby County criminal court records.

This is the fifth fatal interaction between a police officer and a civilian since December.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Memphis police officer shot in East Memphis one person dead