© 2024 WKNO FM
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Loved Ones Honor Officer Joseph 'Rusty' McKinney for Service to Memphis and Dedication to Family

Memphis Police Officer Joseph McKinney was fatally shot while responding to a call on April 12, 2024.
Memphis Police Association Facebook Page
Memphis Police Officer Joseph McKinney was fatally shot while responding to a call on April 12, 2024.

One day after the Memphis Police Department honored Joseph “Rusty” McKinney with a “Sea of Blue” motorcade, loved ones gathered to pay tribute to the slain officer at his funeral Monday.

McKinney was fatally shot on duty April 12 while responding to a suspicious vehicle call in south Memphis.

At the Hope Church in Cordova, friends, family and colleagues remembered McKinney for his and youthful, toothy grin, dedication to family and reputation as a jokester.

The 26-year-old father was a one-time Eagle Scout and member of his high school marching band.

He joined the MPD in 2020 and also leaves behind a fiancée, Karina Najera Sanchez. One family member recounted how McKinney was fond of singing along and dancing to songs in Spanish, a language Sanchez speaks.

His supervisor at the Raines Station, Lt. Vonzell Bibbs, told the gathering that McKinney had a can-do attitude.

“I heard an officer say this, he wasn’t just a good police officer. McKinney was a good partner,” Bibbs said. “When you’re a good partner, that means you are dependable. That means that when I’m in trouble, you’re going to show up.”

Other police officials including Chief CJ Davis said McKinney served with courage and selflessness.

Members of the Memphis City Council also honored him.

A 17-year-old suspect, who was critically injured during the shootout with police, is facing second degree murder charges for McKinney’s death. An additional 18-year-old suspect was killed in the incident, and two other responding officers were wounded.

Prosecutors believe that friendly fire struck McKinney.

“He put his life on the line every day to protect and serve our Memphis community,” Davis said.

Katie is a part-time WKNO contributor. She's always eager to hear your story ideas. You can email her at kriordan@wkno.org