Hackett, AR – Sheriff: Arkansas Deputy Dies In Shooting, Suspect In Custody

HACKETT, Ark. – A sheriff’s deputy died on Wednesday afternoon, hours after he and a local police chief were shot in rural Arkansas, according to areport from KFSM.

Authorities earlier told the news station Sebastian County sheriff’s deputy Bill Cooper was in “extreme critical condition.” He underwent surgery at Sparks Regional Medical Center in Fort Smith Wednesday morning.

He was pronouced dead at 1:15 p.m. local time, KFSM reported.

Hackett police Chief Darrell Spells was also treated at the hospital, but was released by Wednesday afternoon. Spells is expected to recover.

At a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said Cooper served in the U.S. Marine Corps and joined the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office in 2001. He was 65 years old.

“Bill Cooper was dynamic,” Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck said. “He loved his job. He could’ve retired years ago (but) he loved this community so much he stayed on.”

Cooper was shot in the head. Spells was grazed by a bullet.

A police K-9 may also have been injured in the attack.

Officers identified the shooting suspect as Billy Jones, of Greenwood, who was “described as having negative feelings toward law enforcement,” according to KHBS.

He was known to law enforcement and, along with his family owns “a large number of weapons.”

In addition, Sgt. Daniel Grubbs of the Fort Smith Police Department said Jones has a license for explosives.

Authorities had Jones in custody by 11:50 a.m. local time following an hours-long standoff at a home near the scene of the shooting on Arkansas Highway 253, KFSM reported.

He surrendered peacefully, according to the news station. However, he fired several shots at officers and a bomb robot before giving up.

No other officers were injured.

A bomb squad performed a controlled explosion on Wednesday afternoon at the mobile home where Jones had barricaded himself.

Phil Pevehouse, of the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that Jones was “holed up” inside a house near the scene of the shooting earlier Wednesday. He was armed with a semi-automatic weapon, according to KFSM.

The shooting was reported around 7:15 a.m. local time just outside Hackett at the intersection of Arkansas Highway 253 and Boone Road. Multiple agencies, including Arkansas State Police, responded to the scene.

Investigators said Jones pointed a gun at his father before police were called. He was due in court later Wednesday.

Speaking at an event in North Little Rock, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the shooting highlights the dangers of police work, the Democrat-Gazette reported.

“It’s a risky business, and it really illustrates the importance of our support for law enforcement,” Hutchinson said.

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