First, gunshots rang out, police say.
Officers were already near the Clearbrook Village Apartments in Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday for an unrelated criminal complaint, according to WMC. But then bystanders heard the gunfire — and saw someone running away from the apartment complex that the piercing sound seemed to come from.
As witnesses yelled about a robbery, cops chased after the running suspect, whom police identified as 18-year-old Aareon Berryman. A fire began to spread in the apartment complex he was fleeing, according to Fox 13, and officers wanted to figure out what happened.
They managed to stop the teenager, who allegedly told police that he “left” two people inside the 16-unit complex that was going up in flames, Fox 13 reported.
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Half of the units in the complex were partially or completely burned before the fire was stopped, police told Fox 13.
Police say Berryman confessed to killing Brandon and Regina Allen, a couple who lived in the apartment complex, and stealing some of their belongings, according to the Commercial Appeal. An arrest affidavit alleges that he then set their residence ablaze before running away.
When he was arrested, Berryman allegedly had two guns — including an AR-15 pistol — and an extra magazine in his possession. Police say they also found marijuana, ecstasy and lighter fluid on the 18-year-old as the apartment building burned, The Commercial Appeal reported.
After the Memphis Fire Department arrived to the scene, firefighters found Brandon’s body on the kitchen floor while Regina’s was in a bedroom, according to Fox 13. The couple had celebrated Regina’s birthday four days earlier.
Both were pronounced dead at the scene, according to WREG, and their deaths have been ruled a homicide. The fire department said there was some ammunition in the burning apartment that exploded because of the fire.
Berryman was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, first-degree murder in preparation of especially aggravated robbery, possession of drugs and aggravated arson. He is set to appear in court on Feb. 26, according to The Commercial Appeal.