BENTON (KATV) - Police chases are risky for officers and innocent by standers but it is sometimes the only way to stop a suspect. The pursuit that ended with a deadly shoot out Tuesday, July 30 in Benton was not the first chase officers have had with the suspect.
It is up to each department to create a policy on how officers should pursue a suspect. In this case, the chase lasted less than 10 miles and just last week on July 23, the suspect, Clifford Jones got away from them.
Lt. Kevin Russell with the Benton Police Department explains what happened on July 23, "He dumped the vehicle and fled on foot. We were unable to locate him at that time and detectives had determined he was the suspect they were looking for and that is actually part of the investigation that led up to this on July 30."
Around 3:30 Tuesday, July 30, Matt Huey got a call from a neighbor alerting him about loud noises outside. "He definitely wasn't going to stop for anybody."
Witnesses recognized the suspect, Clifford Jones as a former neighbor and assumed he was stopping by his ex's home to see his daughter, but two unmarked cars tried to block him in.
Huey says, "The gentleman went up in a neighbors driveway and came in the yard next door toward my house and went out of my yard in the driveway and continued to go on the street."
Reportedly driving over everything in his path. Huey adds, "There could have been children including mine playing out here in front."
Lt. Russell says, "It is always a dynamic situation that is constantly evolving."
Police departments have criteria for stopping a chase like consider traffic - weather, road conditions and if they can possibly track the suspect later. "And in this case, detectives already had an investigation going on this subject," Lt. Russell explains.
Jones was wanted for an investigation into felony narcotics violations. This time when he fled, police were waiting near the Alcoa exit. They used stop sticks to end the chase. Jones vehicle came to a stop against a concrete divider.
Lt. Russell says, "He did fire rounds at the officers." He says it is never a situation officers want to be in.
Plus, now a child doesn't have a father. Huey concludes, "That is very sad and very unfortunate, but I think they did a very good job of trying to stop him."
Jones was pronounced dead on the scene. Details from the autopsy will be available in several weeks. There is an investigation into this officer involved shooting. Two officers are on paid administrative leave.