Midtown kidnapping victim released from hospital

Midtown kidnapping victim released from hospital
Midtown kidnapping victim released from hospital (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A 61-year-old man who police say was kidnapped by armed robbers from a midtown neighborhood on Tuesday has been released from the hospital, according to hospital officials.

Investigators say Thomas Stem was robbed, tossed into the trunk of the getaway car and taken on a wild ride across the state line as his kidnappers were pursued by Memphis Police.

The kidnapping led to a high-speed chase that ended in a deadly officer-involved shooting across the state line in Arkansas.

Midtown kidnapping victim released from hospital

Investigators say officers shot and killed one of the suspects, who has yet to be identified after he bailed from the car and confronted the officers.

They arrested the other suspect, 23-year-old Dedrick Thomas, who now faces charges of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, evading arrest and being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun.

Thomas has criminal charges and cases dating back to 2012.

He’s previously been charged with evading arrest and being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun. He’s also been charged with theft of property. In 2012 he pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment.

The police affidavit says just after midnight Tuesday is when the suspects, armed with guns, approached 61-year-old Thomas Stem on Court Avenue between Avalon and Cleveland in Midtown.

Stem told officers the suspects pulled him from his car, took his cell phone and wallet and asked him for his credit card pin numbers.

Stem says the men held him at gunpoint before forcing him into the trunk of the suspect's car.

Officers say a witness began following the suspect's car and called police, leading to that wild chase.

Stem, whose work includes capturing the Crosstown Concourse transformation on canvas, is back home, surrounded by doting family members. Too shaken to talk publicly about his experience, Stem sent WMC Action News 5 a thumbs-up emoji to let us know he’s o.k.

But the New Year is starting on a terrifying note for him, and for his neighbors. Investigators haven’t said if Stem was specifically targeted by the suspects or if it was a random crime.

Teri Hayslett, who lives in the neighborhood where the kidnapping happened, struggled to make sense of it.

“For somebody to kidnap somebody I’m shocked,” said Hayslett. “I’m wondering if they were watching him, if they thought he had money.”

Hayslett says it will make her think about her own safety in her neighborhood from now on.

"I think I'm going to have to be a little bit more careful walking around the neighborhood now and a little bit more watchful," said Hayslett.

Three MPD officers have been relieved of duty while the Arkansas State Police conduct the officer-involved shooting part of this investigation.

Authorities have not released the name of the suspect who was shot and killed.

The second suspect, Thomas, is set to make his first court appearance Thursday morning.

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