Three people have been shot at a Walmart in Forrest City, Ark., according to police officials and city mayor Cedric Williams.
At around 10 a.m. Monday, two Forrest City Police Department officers responded to a call of a threat inside a Walmart, officials said. The two officers engaged with the suspect and were shot.
The two officers are expected to recover and the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.
At a Monday afternoon press conference, Williams thanked the police department and first responders. “This tragic event was not as bad as it could have been,” he said. “The quick response of our officers saved a lot of lives today.”
The officers were identified as Lt. Eric Varner and Detective Eugene Watlington. They were not wearing protective vests according to police officials, who said it is not part of the officer’s daily practice.
One officer has been airlifted to a regional hospital, while the other was taken to a local hospital. Forrest City Chief of Police Deon Lee told reporters at a Monday afternoon press conference that the officer who was transported to a hospital is in surgery but is expected to recover. The second was hospitalized locally and has been released.
Lee said that the suspect had a criminal record, but nothing that would have led police to believe he was capable of a shooting.
On Monday afternoon, the Arkansas State Police, the agency that has taken over the investigation, shared a tweet offering prayers for the two officers who were injured in the Monday morning shooting. Arkansas State Police Public Information Officer Bill Sadler tells TIME that the agency is now investigating, but could not provide further information or confirm specific details other than that the shooting occurred inside the Walmart.
Forrest City is located about 47 miles west of Memphis, and about 93 miles east of Little Rock, Ark. “We are aware of the incident that took place at our store in Forrest City, Ark. this morning,” said a Walmart spokesperson in a statement. “We will continue to work with the Forrest City Police Department to assist in their investigation.”
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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