Memphis Police Lt. Anthony Mullins briefed reporters on the night of June 8, 2019. Daniel Connolly, The Commercial Appeal
Two days after Glenn Cofield, a prominent financial services executive and charity volunteer, was shot and killed in Midtown, Memphis police said an investigation into the slaying remains ongoing.
Cofield, 57, was leaving a charity event Friday night and returning to his car when the shooting occurred.
Memphis Police Department homicide Lt. Anthony Mullins said Cofield was killed about 10:30 p.m. while going to a parked vehicle at Poplar Avenue and East Parkway.
“As Mr. Cofield attempted to enter his vehicle, there was a verbal exchange between him and the suspect, followed by a gunshot,” Mullins said.
On Sunday, the parking lot where the shooting took place had largely returned to normal, though some crime scene tape could be seen wrapped around poles and a bouquet of yellow flowers had been left near the lot entrance.
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Shooting motive, details unclear
Initial Twitter posts from MPD pointed to an argument or an attempted robbery as possible motives.
However, Mullins told reporters late Saturday night that the motive was still unclear.
“Well, there’s a lot of possibilities and we’re going to explore all those possibilities. And that’s why we’re asking for the citizens to help, so we can get the actual circumstances,” Mullins said.
He said authorities had no description of the killer, other than that the suspect or suspects fled in a dark-colored vehicle. He said police are still searching the area for surveillance video.
Mullins said that anyone who witnessed anything out of the ordinary, no matter how small, should call in tips to Crime Stoppers 528-2274.
Police officers have received some tips already and have spoken with a security guard who was at the parking lot at the time of the shooting, according to Mullins. He said he couldn’t say exactly how many people were on the lot at the time.
Memphis police said Sunday morning that no additional information was available.
► The investigation: Here’s what we know about the killing of Glenn Cofield
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‘He had the kindest heart’
Glenn Cofield’s older sibling, John Cofield, said his brother grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, graduated from Ole Miss and had lived in Memphis for years.
A husband and father of three sons, Cofield was local branch manager for financial services company Raymond James. He served on the board of the Memphis Country Club and on the board of directors for Paragon Bank, his brother said.
His official bio on the Raymond James website also said he had served as past treasurer and president of Carnival Memphis; as a member of the FedEx St. Jude Golf Tournament Committee of 100; and as a board member of the Institute of Management Accountants.
In addition to his formal involvement in charitable causes, he had served for years as head usher at the Presbyterian church he attended and also practiced personal acts of charity, like buying groceries for strangers, his brother said.
“He had the kindest heart,” John Cofield said.
He said he believed his brother had attended a charitable event and was attacked as he and his wife returned to a parked car nearby.
“It is with a crushed heart I sadly have to tell Oxford that my little brother Glenn was murdered in Memphis last night,” John Cofield wrote on Facebook. “Leaving a charity event with his wife, he was jumped and shot and died instantly. Natalie was not hurt, but is in shock, as we all are. He was a fine man. He leaves behind three fine sons. They say time heals all wounds but it will have no effect on this event. I will cry for him forever. RIP my brother, my rock. Love, John.”
John Cofield said police told family members that one shot was fired and that a bullet struck his brother in the heart, killing him.
No funeral arrangements have been set yet.
Several members of the Cofield family are well-known photographers. Glenn Cofield created the company Cofield Press to publish his brother John’s book, “Oxford, Mississippi: The Cofield Collection,” a pictorial history of the town.
John Cofield said his grandfather also helped create an archive of photos of legendary Mississippi writer William Faulkner.
Weary of violence
The shooting underscores the city’s ongoing struggle with gun violence. Shootings of children, including unintentional shootings, have become so common that surgeons at a children’s hospital have launched a campaign to prevent them.
The investigation of Cofield’s death coincided with Saturday’s Memphis Wear Orange event, which aimed to give voice to gun violence victims and highlight methods of violence prevention.
The prominence of Cofield’s death and the manner of the shooting were reminiscent of the September killing of Phil Trenary, president of the Greater Memphis Chamber. Three suspects were charged in Trenary’s killing: Two young men and a teen girl. The teen girl was later released, though juvenile court officials didn’t say why.
Charges against the two young men are pending.
At the late-night news conference, Mullins expressed condolences for Cofield’s family.
“This is a difficult time for his family, his friends and the city of Memphis as a whole and the Cofield family will be in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time,” he said.
Mullins said he had slept little since the shooting the night before. He said he was very tired.
“In closing, I want to commend our officers who have literally been working around the clock investigating this senseless crime, as we do on every homicide,” he said. “We want those responsible to know that the men and women of the Memphis Police Department are committed to the protection and safety of all of our citizens and visitors, and we will not rest until there is justice for all of our victims.”
Investigative reporter Daniel Connolly welcomes tips and comments from the public. Reach him at 529-5296, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @danielconnolly.
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