Concerns are being expressed throughout the community for two Van Buren Police Department officers who were involved in a shooting that left a local man dead.
Support for the two officers, Adam Hicks and Justin Wing, dominated social media following the Sunday incident at 2209 Granite Circle in Van Buren.
One Facebook post expressed appreciation for “police friends who put their lives on the line day in and day out for us.”
Others gave thanks for “a guardian angel.”
Police Chief Jamie Hammond said Tuesday that Hicks and Wing are “doing remarkably well.”
“Adam, who was wearing his vest, is understandably a little sore after being shot in the chest,” Hammond said. “Emotionally, Justin also seems to be doing well.”
Both have been placed on paid administrative leave.
Hicks and Wing had responded to a verbal disturbance between and a husband and wife, Johnny and Cathy Fisher, at their Granite Circle residence at 12:42 a.m. Sunday, Hammond said. Cathy Fisher had called 911, he said.
“The officers tried to separate the two to find out what was going on,” Hammond said. “The man got upset and produced two guns, one in each hand. He said he was tired of all this and made threatening comments toward them.”
Hammond said the officers begged Johnny Fisher, 68, to drop the guns.
“In a matter of seconds, he raised both guns and aimed at officer Hicks,” Hammond said. “Officer Wing then shot Fisher in the chest section like he is trained to do. As Fisher was falling, he fired his weapon, hitting officer Hicks.”
“The bullet hit his bullet resistant vest,” Hammond said. “It did its job, and he suffered a bruise. He was treated and released from Mercy Hospital.”
Fisher was armed with a .38-caliber revolver and 9mm semi-automatic pistol, the chief said.
Hammond said both Hicks and Wing will be sent to counselors while on administrative leave to make sure they are OK.
Special agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division will investigate the incident. Fisher’s body was taken to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory to determine the manner and cause of death.
Upon completion of the investigation, state police special agents will submit an investigative file to Crawford County Prosecutor Marc McCune for consideration to determine whether use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer was justified as defined by state laws, according to an ASP spokesman.
Hammond said there also will be an internal investigation conducted by Van Buren Police Department staff.