Little Rock, Ark. – One person is dead and two Little Rock Police officers are on leave as the agency investigates a shooting Thursday morning where officers fired their guns.
Authorities said the responding officers were attempting to de-escalate a situation around 1:30 a.m. on the 2100 block of West 18th Street before shots were fired into a man with a gun already pointed to his own head.
Little Rock Police Chief Heath Helton said his men initially responded to a 911 call concerning someone who was potentially suicidal at 1:23 a.m. on Thursday morning.
“Upon arrival, officers were greeted outside the home by a white female who was bleeding from the mouth,” Helton said.
Officers said that the woman warned them her boyfriend had weapons and was still inside. Police said they saw a man through a window and attempted to de-escalate the situation by speaking with him from outside an open front door, but the man did not respond.
At that point, officers said they went in and tried talking to the man again, but their first direct contact with him ended abruptly.
“The individual walked out of a bedroom with a gun to his head. After shots were fired, the subject fell to the ground. Officers immediately rendered medical aid while securing the weapon,” Helton said.
An ambulance took the man to the hospital where he later died. What’s not clear and remains under investigation is whether the man fired his weapon at all or if the officers fired first.
Helton did not give the name or age of the man who died and there was no identifying information given on the officers involved. Helton did not answer any questions after a minute-and-a-half-long media briefing Thursday afternoon. The Little Rock Police Department explained beforehand they would not answer any questions regarding the shooting because of the active investigation.
Since an officer fired a gun, the entire incident is being investigated internally. A separate criminal investigation is also underway.