Why man who shot at officer was charged with aggravated assault
PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KATV) -- Many of our viewers reached out and wanted to know why the man who shot at a Pine Bluff police officer this weekend was only charged with aggravated assault and not attempted murder.
According to Richard Wegner with PBPD, Jones' initial arrest is only based off of what police know to be true at the time of the incident.
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Jones shot at an officer early Saturday morning, then fled the scene. He broke into a duplex, barricaded himself, shot several times out a window, and finally surrendered, according to law enforcement.
But since detectives are still working on the investigation, Jones cannot be charged with attempted murder until prosecutors know what state of mind he was in, according to Wegner.
"Just because he was not charged with a higher level offense on Saturday does not mean he may not be charged with a higher level offense later on,” Wegner added, only after the investigation is complete.
Police still don’t know Jones’ motives, but what they do know is he was not sober.
“He would have been held in the jail long enough for, whatever substance that was—to have been removed from his system. Normally they can at least hold a conversation and speak in coherent sentences. This was not the case with him,” Wegner added.
In a situation that could have turned deadly on both ends, Wegner is proud of how law enforcement handled it all.
“The restraint showed by the officers was absolutely fantastic. Twice they were fired upon, twice they did not return fire. And the only technical shots that were fired by law enforcement was when we fired gas canisters into the house,” he said.
Police say since Jones shot off his gun two separate times, he could face multiple counts of aggravated assault.
If Jones is found to have been under the influence of a mind altering substance, his charges could even be mitigated, meaning lessened. But that, according to Wegner, is ultimately up to the prosecutor.
If Jones had successfully shot the officer or another person, he'd initially be charged with first degree battery which is a Class Y felony when it involves a police officer, which is the same level of offense as attempted capital murder.