Memphis Chamber of Commerce CEO killed in downtown shooting

by Didi Martinez /

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The president and chief executive officer of the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce was shot dead Thursday night in downtown Memphis, police and the city’s mayor said.

The Memphis Police Department issued an alert via Twitter around 8 p.m. CT (9 p.m. ET) Thursday saying they were at the scene of a shooting in the city’s downtown area.

Hours later, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland retweeted the police department’s notice and identified the victim as Phil Trenary.

“Like many of you, I'm shocked at the senseless loss tonight of Phil Trenary, a leader in our community,” Stickland wrote. “More than anything in these hours, my thoughts are with his family and his Chamber colleagues. I'm in close contact with MPD, which is leading a thorough investigation.”

Memphis Police Lt. Karen Rudolph told the Commercial Appeal newspaper on Friday that Trenary was alone at the time of the incident and had been approached by the gunman.

Trenary, 64, had a career as a businessman in the aviation industry, formerly serving as President and CEO of the Pinnacle Airline Corporation.Trenary, who had a wife and three children, was appointed President and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce in June 2014.

The chamber expressed how devastating this loss was for the organization.

“It is with sad hearts that we confirm that we have lost our leader and friend,” a statement from the organization read. “Our President and CEO, Phil Trenary died this evening. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Trenary family.”

The organization had been hosting a 4-mile race called Move It Memphis near the area Thursday evening where Trenary was fatally shot. Trenary is married and has three kids.

In a Friday morning tweet, Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander said he was stunned by the news.

"I am shocked to learn of Phil Trenary’s death," wrote the Republican lawmaker. "He was a good friend and a strong voice for Memphis and Tennessee. Honey and I send our sympathy to his family and to the entire Memphis community on his loss."

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