UPDATE: The Memphis Police Dept. says two teenage boys have been arrested and charged in connection to the carjacking and murder of beloved Methodist pastor Autura Eason-Williams.The juveniles were transported to Homicide for continued investigation as they matched the description of the suspects from the homicide of Autura Eason-Williams.
Miguel Andrade, 15, was charged with First Degree Murder, Murder in the Perpetration of a Robbery, Especially Aggravated Robbery, Carjacking, and Employment of a Firearm during a Dangerous Felony.
A 16-year-old male juvenile was charged with Theft of Property $2,500-$10,000.
A 17-year-old male juvenile was released without charges.ORIGINAL STORY: There is great anger and anguish among United Methodists in Memphis after a beloved district superintendent was gunned down by carjackers in Whitehaven. The attack happened on Whitehaven Lane around 4:15 p.m. Monday.
Rev. Autura Eason-Williams was rushed to the hospital where she later died. She was a devoted wife and mother to four children.
“Incidents like these should make everyone have sleepless nights. It should make everyone have feelings of hurt and pain,” Davis said.
Chief Davis told the Commercial Appeal that the carjacking was a heinous crime.
Worth Morgan, a Republican running to be Shelby County Mayor, blasted the out-of-control violence that has turned Memphis into a war zone.
“This crime is senseless. When will we finally say, enough is enough,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I thought this would be a great opportunity to really call not just our community leaders but also our clergy to action — how do we work together in our communities and expand our reach beyond the Memphis police department to help change our neighborhoods, help be more proactive … with our young people?” Davis told the newspaper. “Because the sad part is that even though we have a person that has lost their life, we’ve got three more children who are going to jail.”
Eason-Williams was the district superintendent of the Metro District in the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Annual Conference, the pastor of Capleville United Methodist Church, and an alumni of Memphis Theological Seminary.
“We join so many of you in shock and pain. Autura was a real light and a well of deep care. Personally, I saw in her the spiritual gift of hospitality. Autura was eager to embrace all of God’s children with a warm smile, gentle hug, or encouraging word. We grieve her loss and this senseless violence,” MTS president Jody Hill wrote on Facebook.
The Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference of the UMC released a statement condemning the “senseless act” of violence.
“We all are shocked and saddened by this senseless act,” the district wrote. “May the love of Christ carry all those who love her during these days of grief ahead. We will rely on God together.”
Wesley Theological Seminary, where the pastor obtained her doctorate, called her a “faithful and dedicated leader” who will be remembered as someone who empowered and cared deeply for her community and its children.”
“Autura was committed to making a difference in Memphis and especially in the lives of children. She wanted disadvantaged children to get off to a good start in life and wanted congregations to play a role in this effort,” Dr. Doug Powe said.