Investigation Continues into Walnut Ridge Shootout

June 26, 2003 - Posted at: 5:57 p.m. CDT

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. -- The investigation into a Wednesday shootout in Lawrence County continues, and law enforcement investigators have confirmed the identity of a man killed by police.

Authorities say 33-year-old Stephen Troy Triplett of Pocahontas suffered several gunshot wounds, after getting involved in a high speed chase on Highway 67, and then opening fire on police officers from six different agencies.

Triplett was killed under the state Highway 34 overpass just north of Walnut Ridge. He had a history with the law, according to Special Agent Phil Carter of the Arkansas State Police.

"At this time, I don't know at all what it all consists of," Carter said of Triplett's record. "But it's not from the state of Arkansas."

The incident started off as a high speed chase outside the city limits of Pocahontas. According to Carter, Triplett continued south on US 67 through Walnut Ridge. He then ran his car into a ditch in the median, fired more shots, and forcing officers to fire back.

"The driver, possibly a drunk driver, driving in a reckless manor, officers attempted to stop him," Carter said. "(The) chase pursued and during this time there was several shots that were fired from the suspects vehicle."

There is no information on the amount of bullets fired in the exchange. Triplett's body has been sent to the State Crime Lab for autopsy.

"We'll know if drugs or alcohol were involved, but it takes some time," Carter said.

Triplett's weapon, a .38-caliber pistol and his vehicle are also being examined. Officials say it could be weeks before the results are known. Triplett was married with children.

Officials add that most of the officers involved in the incident have been privately interviewed. Once completed, their statements will be turned over to the Henry Boyce, Third Judicial District Prosecutor in Newport.