Dr. Yvonne D. Nelson, a staunch neighborhood activist, especially for Whitehaven, was fatally shot late Saturday (Aug. 13) night in Raleigh.
Her son, Zen Mason, posted on his Facebook page Sunday (Aug. 14):
“My mother was murdered last night. Her name was Dr. Yvonne Denise Nelson. If you know of this person, can you please contact MPD … My family is looking for justice.”
Mason posted the photo of a woman released by the Memphis Police Department as a person of interest connected to the shooting.
Police responded to an emergency call about the shooting just after 11 p.m. Saturday in the 5100 block of Yale Road just east of Covington Pike. Nelson, 60, was dead at the scene. She was shot several times.
Police have not released a motive. Officers declined to confirm reports that Nelson was the victim of a carjacking.
Police sped to the scene as multiple callers reported the shooting. Several said the suspect fled in a newer model black Infiniti sedan. One of Nelson’s neighbors told police she had recently purchased a black Infiniti.
If Dr. Nelson’s slaying is found to be the result of a carjacking, it will be the second fatal carjacking in as many months.
Pastor Autura Eason-Williams was gunned down in a Whitehaven driveway in July during a carjacking at her home. She was driving an Infiniti. Two teens are charged with murder in Eason-Williams’ case.
The image of a heavy-set woman with braids was caught on video, and a photo from the taping was released. The woman is wanted for questioning in the shooting.
Memphis City Councilwoman Patrice Jordan Robinson, whose district includes Whitehaven, called Dr. Nelson’s slaying “a sad day in Whitehaven.
“I’m not in town, but someone called me this morning with the news,” Robinson said. “This is very personal for me. Dr. Nelson’s son and my son have been best friends since the fourth grade.
“She worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life in Whitehaven. Our district has lost a wonderful friend. This is a terrible tragedy.”
Nelson has been a prominent figure in the Whitehaven community for more than three decades. She was president of the Whitehaven Community Development Corporation (CDC).
Among other community advocacy accomplishments, she was a leader in the successful fight to prevent Elvis Presley Enterprises from opening a 3-D printing factory in the middle of middle- and upper-middle-class neighborhoods. The facility would have been in the closed Graves Road Elementary school.
This past spring (May 21), she was honored at the neighborhood cleanup that was a partnership between Dist. 85 State Rep. Jesse Chism and the Greater Whitehaven Economic Development Corporation.
The promo for the event read, “Dr. Nelson is a humanitarian and community advocate whose philosophy and mission is committed to challenging racial, economic, and environmental injustice and protecting the basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in our society.”
Dr. Nelson also was former editor of the Whitehaven Appeal, a neighborhood community publication of The Commercial Appeal.
She would have been 61 on Aug. 31.
Authorities are asking for help in identifying the woman described a person of interest.
Anyone with information involving this case is asked to call (901) 528-CASH. There is a cash reward for any tip leading to an arrest.