LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – One man is in critical condition after crashing into a pole following an officer-involved shooting.
It happened just after 4:00 Saturday morning and resulted in two crime scenes – one near 12th and University, and the other at the 1400 block of Cleveland Street. Police say the officer’s gun went off after his hand became stuck in the suspect’s car door and he was dragged 15 to 20 feet down the road.
The driver of the car is currently in the hospital, and everyone involved is under investigation.
When midtown neighbor Columbus Johnson headed out for groceries Saturday morning, he ran into an active crime scene. Police had taped off most of Cleveland Street, setting up a boundary for hours. “I saw the police had everything blocked off,” Johnson remembered, having to alter his route to get to Wright Ave.
Johnson has lived on Cleveland Street for 45 years. He says, for the most part, the neighborhood is quiet with the exception of busy 12th street. But just after 4 a.m., the calm morning turned into chaos.
Little Rock Police shared details of the officer-involved shooting and related car crash in a news conference by Chief Keith Humphrey. He says officers were responding to a call about a man driving a car without the owner’s permission. Officers arrived on scene and tried to talk with the suspect, but he then began arguing with officers and tried to drive away.
In the chaos, an officer’s hand and gun got trapped in the car door, and the suspect dragged the officer down the street in his attempt to flee. According to police, that’s when the gun went off. “As the driver began to flee,” Humphrey explained during the news conference, “the officer struggled to free himself, and the weapon was discharged.”
A few yards away, police say the driver crashed into a utility pole and was found bleeding from a gunshot wound to his leg. He was transported to the hospital in “critical condition”, while the dragged officer sustained only minor injuries.
For Johnson, he says he’s sick of all the violence in his city and wants it to end. “It’s just pathetic that those things really happen,” he said. “That it happened on our street.”
Police say no other details will be released as the case is being investigated. As of right now, we don’t know the name of the suspect, or the victims involved.