JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - In response to Monday afternoon's events on Craighead County Road 912 where police exchanged gunfire with two men, Craighead County Sheriff Jack McCann said officers react from training they've received. McCann said counselors were on hand Tuesday morning at the sheriff's office for officers involved in the exchange. McCann said he has spoken with two sheriff's deputies who fired at the suspects.
"As soon as that's over with, your adrenaline level drops. You kind of crash emotionally and then you think, well, did I have to. Could I have done something else," said McCann.
McCann said both men were visually distraught after Monday's events.
"This incident was just bizarre because you got the officers approaching the house and shots fired, set the house on fire and you just don't hear that and go across the field firing at the officers," said McCann.
McCann said officers go through several hours of training at police academies across the country. Before they are issued certain weapons, they have to go through a certification process. Region 8 News talked to Deputy Sheriff Rusty Grigsby Tuesday morning, who showed his training in firing a 12-gauge shotgun, standard issue pistol and AR-15 assault rifle.
"The hardest thing about police work anymore is you never know from one minute to the next what's going to happen," said Grigsby. "We deal with people that are on parole, probation, that's been through the penitentiary, that's been through the court system and we deal with those people on an everyday basis."
Grigsby said he had only exchanged gunfire with a subject once in his 25 year career. According to Grigsby, suspects who have already been locked up are more likely to commit violent offenses.
"As a trained officer, you always pay attention to body language. You're always looking around, watching people, watching for suspicious activity," said Grigsby. "For example, an officer can walk in a store, say a quick shop. That officer will scan the area of the quick shop and he can know everybody in there and he can about tell you what everybody is doing. If somebody is acting suspicious, that officer knows it. It's just something that we become aware of over the years."
"In the parole situation, that person has been in the penitentiary before and just like this man, he just said he wasn't going back and you don't know. That's what we always try to stress to the officers is, and they stress that in the academy. There is no such thing as a routine call," said McCann.
McCann said officers pay attention to specific mannerisms and body language when serving search warrants, parole violations or other police duties.
"They're taught accident investigation and felony stops and how to handle yourself in a lot of these situations that arise," said McCann.
When those situations arise, officers react with training. Training dictates when an officer pulls the trigger on a subject.
"At the academy, they cover everything. Of course firearms is unfortunately a major part of the academy. If you fail the firearms, you're out," said McCann. "They could have returned fire the first or second time they were fired on, but it's very difficult to shoot someone."
McCann said Monday's shooting was the first incident in which a sheriff's deputy was involved in a fatal shooting in Craighead County.
"Police officers from whatever agency are quite often viewed as cold-hearted and they just want to shoot somebody and that's not the case," said McCann.