The Full Memphis Story - Shots Fired at Police with Bush Nearby

From Memphis Newspaper Commercial Appeal

Shots fired at police with Bush nearby

By Sherri Drake
March 12, 2005

It's never a good idea, Memphis police said Friday, to pull a gun on police, especially when the leader of the free world is camped two blocks away.

Thursday night, officers from the Police Department, Secret Service and the Tennessee Highway Patrol saturated the area around The Peabody where President Bush was staying.

About 10:10 p.m., a 17-year-old, apparently oblivious to numerous police barricades and the swarm of federal agents, decided he'd fire several rounds at police officers when they approached him, about a block from the hotel, for looking suspicious.

Ricky Antonio Barber was loitering near parked cars at 296 Monroe when officers walked up.

He ran. They chased. He started firing.

"This guy did not even know the President was in town," said Insp. Matt McCann.

He found out pretty quickly when more officers joined the pursuit, chasing the pistol-toting teen down the street, through a vacant apartment and over a fence into AutoZone Park, dodging bullets as they ran.

Officers didn't fire back, but chased him through the park to Fourth and Union and arrested him at Third and Monroe.

Secret Service agents stayed put at the hotel at 149 Union.

Barber, also known as Ricky Antonio Cooper, was treated for a knee injury before being hauled to Juvenile Court. No officers were hurt.

Police said they have no idea what prompted the shooting.

"Can't read these guys' minds," McCann said.

Barber, listed in police records as a GED student, is charged with four counts of aggravated assault, vandalism, criminal trespass and evading arrest.