Sheriff's office: Suspect in custody after 2 officers shot in Arkansas

HACKETT, Ark. (AP) — A man suspected of shooting and wounding two Arkansas law enforcement officers Wednesday was arrested after barricading himself in a house, authorities said.

The suspect was taken into custody several hours after the shooting was reported around 7:20 a.m. in a rural, wooded area near Hackett, a town of about 800 residents, according to Sebastian County sheriff's officials.

Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck said a Hackett police officer suffered "superficial" wounds during the shooting, but he declined to comment on the condition of the second officer, a sheriff's deputy, who was shot. Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Philip Pevehouse later said the deputy was in serious condition at a local hospital.

The officers were shot while responding to an unspecified call for service Wednesday morning, Pevehouse said. Dozens of police vehicles, including a SWAT truck, quickly descended on the area. Pevehouse said they surrounded a house where the suspect had barricaded himself inside.

Pevehouse said the man's father called police earlier in the day asking officers to check in on his son, but he didn't release details about the call.

Pevehouse didn't immediately return a phone message seeking details about the call from The Associated Press, but a news conference is planned for later Wednesday afternoon. Arkansas State Police is providing assistance but referred calls to local authorities.

James Markward, who lives nearby, said he heard commotion early Wednesday morning in the area, which is about 115 miles west of Little Rock.

"It woke me up this morning, the gunshots. Of course I didn't know what was going on," the 72-year-old told The Associated Press in telephone interview. "My neighbor called me and asked if I was shooting, and I said 'No, not me.'"

Markward said the shooting suspect once helped him split wood, but said he hadn't seen the man in a few years.

"As far as I know, he was all right," he said.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he didn't have details about the shooting but said it underscored the danger that the state's law enforcement officers face.

"It's a risky business and it really illustrates the importance of our support for law enforcement," Hutchinson told reporters at an event in North Little Rock.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, whose district includes part of Sebastian County, also didn't have details about the incident but echoed the governor's support for police statewide.

"This has to stop," Westerman said. "It's a shame the price that law enforcement officers are paying right now and, again, I don't know any details about what's happening here, but my heart and prayer is with them and their families."


Associated Press writers Andrew DeMillo in North Little Rock and Ken Miller in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.