Memphis Chamber CEO Phil Trenary shooters to go on trial in December

Nearly four years after the death of former Greater Memphis Chamber CEO Philip Trenary, the two accused men now know they will face trial in early December.

Quandarius Richardson, 22, and McKinney Wright, 26, were indicted by a grand jury in June 2019. Both are charged with first-degree murder and particularly aggravated robbery.

According to an affidavit, Wright told officers that he and Richardson were discussing “possible robbery targets while driving through downtown Memphis” on the evening of September 27, 2018. Witnesses later told police investigators from Memphis that they had seen someone pull up and get out of a white truck, walk towards Trenary, and shoot him in the back of the neck.

When officers arrived at the scene, they “observed Trenary lying unresponsive on the street with citizens attempting to provide assistance,” according to the affidavit. Officers were called around 7:30 p.m., and Trenary was pronounced dead by Regional One Medical Center staff about half an hour later.

October 02, 2018 - Quandarius Richardson, 18, appears inside Division Seven of the General Sessions Court with Judge Bill Anderson on Tuesday.

After further investigation, the MPD identified Richardson, then 18, as a suspect, although what linked Richardson to the crime was not disclosed by police.

Just before noon the next day, officers saw a truck stolen from Frayser that matched the witness’s description of the truck from the Front Street crime scene. After attempting to stop the truck, officers were led on a high-speed chase through Memphis neighborhoods and highways until they crashed at the intersection of McLemore Avenue and the Mississippi Blvd.

During the carnage, first responders pulled Richardson from the broken cabin of the Ford F-150. Shymontre Reed, then 19, was also in the car, but cleared of any involvement in Trenary’s death.

Wright was arrested the next day, along with his 16-year-old cousin. Police reports and affidavits never detailed exactly how MPD linked the three to the case, saying only that Richardson provided a “statement” that led police to Wright and the 19-year-old. The 16-year-old, whose identity has not been revealed, will later be dropped from the case.

McKinney Wright Jr. appears inside the Eighth Division of the Criminal Court with Judge Chris Craft, July 11, 2019.

Trenary was walking to his downtown home from the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Move it Memphis race near Loflin Yard when he was shot. He was not running in the event himself, but praised the city before beginning the half-mile walk to his property on South Front Street.

“It was kind of hard knowing that he was just sharing his excitement for his team, the city, and as always, really positive and optimistic about Memphis,” said Kevin Woods, board member of the Memphis-Shelby County Schools, to Commercial Appeal in 2018. “His belief in Memphis had never been stronger. And then, moments later, he was gone.”

After Trenary’s death, a fund was established in his honor through the Community Foundation bearing his name. The fund was a permanent tribute to a man who adopted Memphis as his home for more than two decades and who was constantly looking for ways to distribute the wealth in the city.

In 2014, Phil Trenary became the new president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber.

He was posthumously honored by the Memphis City Council in 2018 with a humanitarian award which was received by Brittney Rowe, his daughter.

“He didn’t pursue progress for recognition, he pursued it because it was part of his fabric,” Rowe said. “He could visualize the best in every person, and if he had a conversation with you, you were the only person in the room.”

Trenary is remembered as the ‘tip of the spear’ of many initiatives pursued by the chamber, leading to the fight against poverty and persuading businesses to create summer jobs for young people – the path he has taken. shown on the trade call in mid-2017 which could best lower poverty rates in the city.

“We’re talking about breaking the cycle of poverty, which doesn’t mean you’re going to end poverty, but if you’re the first person in this family to have a solid middle-class job, and you have a supported family, you have a car, you have a house, you have all these things, you’ve broken the cycle of poverty,” Trenary said. “So that’s what we’re talking about. Break the cycle of poverty in this family. If you do that ten times, we’re talking about breaking the cycle of poverty in that community.”

Lucas Finton is a journalist at The Commercial Appeal. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @LucasFinton.

Elna M. Lemons