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Suspect, officers named in weekend Little Rock shooting

Officer Brittany Gunn (left) and Officer Nicholas Smith (right) have been placed on administrative leave following the shooting. (Photos courtesy: Little Rock Police Dept.)

The Little Rock Police Department has released more information in an officer-involved shooting that occurred over the weekend, including the names of the officers and the suspect.

According to police, Officer Brittany Gunn was wearing her uniform but working in an off-duty capacity as security for the parking lot at the Local Union on N. University Avenue on Saturday morning.

At approximately 4:15 a.m., an individual leaving the Local Union had requested a transportation service and saw a 2004 Mercedes Benz pull into the parking lot. The individual asked the driver, later identified as 28-year-old James Hartsfield, if he was with the ride service and he indicated he was. The individual got into the Mercedes, but before the car pulled away, Officer Gunn says Hartsfield appeared to be drinking from a bottle of liquor.

Officer Gunn made contact with Hartsfield, ordering him out of the vehicle. Authorities say he refused to comply with her commands and a physical altercation ensued. She was able to radio for assistance and on-duty officers were dispatched to her location.

When Officer Nicholas Smith arrived on scene to assist Gunn, he found her in the passenger side of the Mercedes and struggling with Hartsfield. Officer Smith went to the driver's side and the two attempted to remove him, though police say he continued to resist.

At that point, police say Hartsfield put the vehicle into drive and quickly took off, causing Officer Smith to fall on the pavement.

Officer Gunn was still in the passenger side as the vehicle continued to accelerate toward a brick retaining wall. She fired multiple times at the driver and the vehicle went through the wall, coming to rest in the northbound lanes of University Ave. As it hit the street, Gunn was ejected and landed in the street.

Other on-duty officers arrived on scene and began to give aide to Officer Gunn and checked Hartsfield, saying both were unresponsive.

When medical personnel arrived, they determined Hartsfield was dead. Police say he was struck multiple times by the gunfire.

Gunn was taken to the hospital for multiple contusions and abrasions and was released later in the day. Smith was treated at the hospital for a minor leg injury and was later released.

Both officers have been placed on administrative leave per department policy.

The investigation is ongoing.


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