Suspect killed in Little Rock officer-involved shooting
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - A routine traffic stop Monday turned into a chase and ended with an officer-involved shooting.
Sgt. Cassandra Davis initially said a man in his 30s was pulled over near the Madison Heights Apartments at the corner of 12th Street and Jefferson because he was believed to be driving a stolen black SUV. Officers said the car's license plates were also expired.
After pulling over, the suspect - later identified as 26-year-old Deon Williams - reportedly tried to walk away. An officer said he saw a bulge in Williams' waistband and assumed he was trying to hide a weapon so he ordered Williams to walk over toward his police car.
Instead, Williams allegedly ran away. One officer chased him on foot while his partner tried to cut him off with their patrol car. The chase only lasted for about five blocks, ending behind a building at 1110 Adams Street.
When the officer chasing him on foot rounded the corner of the building, he said he saw a gun fall from Williams' waistband. The officer had been carrying a taser but dropped it when he saw the gun and drew his own gun. Williams reportedly picked up the weapon and started looking at the officer, making him think Williams was going to shoot. The officer shot first, firing three times.
The suspect was killed. The officer was not injured.
Sgt. Davis confirmed that they found Williams' handgun at the scene as well as narcotics.
Various witnesses reported hearing anywhere from five to eight shots fired. Because the shooting happened behind a building, there are few witnesses who saw the entire situation.
The owner of the car, Shemedia Shelton, showed up around 2:45 and told Channel 7 News that the car was not stolen - a fact that Sgt. Davis confirmed Tuesday morning - and that Williams was her husband. Multiple family friends later identified her as a former girlfriend.
Shelton said that Williams had spent some time in prison recently and was out on parole.
Shea Wilson with the Arkansas Department of Correction told Channel 7 News that Williams served two years in state custody starting May 26, 2011 on a 10 year sentence for robbery and drug manufacturing & distribution. He was then transferred to the Pulaski County Detention Facility for a few days but was released on parole May 29 of this year.
Williams was convicted on the drugs charges as an habitual offender.
His criminal history also included a three year sentence in 2008 for robbery, manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, fraud and possession of drug paraphernalia. He served around six months of that sentence before being paroled.
Shelton believes that Williams only ran because he was driving on a suspended driver's license and that would have violated his parole. She knew of no outstanding warrants for him.
"They have so many new laws now regarding those suspended licenses...he was just scared," Shelton said.
A crowd of more than 200 by some estimates formed after the shooting. By 3:00 p.m., the crowd was shrinking but becoming more vocal, some holding signs reading "Justice for Bobby Moore," - the African American teen shot by former Little Rock police officer Josh Hastings. That case ended in a mistrial.
Some members of the crowd started yelling profanities at police. Others said, "Stop killing our young men." Dozens of officers responded to keep the situation under control. They also established a staging area around two miles away for fast response in case extra police presence became necessary.
A spokesperson with the NAACP at one point used a police cruiser's loudspeaker system to ask the crowd to at least send any children or teens home so that if the situation escalated, they would be safe. He also told the crowd that a vigil being held that night at the State Capitol at 8:30 in honor of Trayvon Martin as well as another vigil at 7:00 in the River Market would be better venues to show their frustrations with this incident.
Police left the scene around 3:45 hoping to diffuse the situation and the crowd largely broke up after that. At 4:20, only 30-40 still remained and were far less vocal than when the crowd was larger. By 5:00, they had left entirely.
Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley, LRPD Chief Stuart Thomas and the police department's chaplain all went to the scene when the shooting was first reported.
The officer who shot Williams has not been identified other than being an African American. The officer's partner also has not been identified but both have been placed on administrative leave while the incident is investigated.