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

The shooting happened Wednesday morning as the officers responded to an unspecified call for service

Police Shooting Generic

HACKETT, Ark. (AP) — A man suspected of shooting and wounding two Arkansas law enforcement officers on Wednesday has been taken in into custody, according to the local sheriff.

The suspect was arrested several hours after the shooting was reported around 7:20 a.m. in a rural, wooded area near Hackett, Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck told Fort Smith television station KHBS.

Hollenbeck says a Hackett police officer suffered “superficial” wounds during the shooting, but he declined to release the condition of the sheriff’s deputy who was shot. Hollenbeck declined further questions and quickly left the scene to go to a hospital to visit the deputy.

The officers were shot while responding to an unspecified call for service Wednesday morning, Sebastian County Sheriff’s Lt. Philip Pevehouse said. Deputies later surrounded a house where the suspect had barricaded himself inside, Pevehouse said.

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 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.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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