WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) – Walnut Ridge police officers involved in a deadly shooting will not face charges.
Henry Boyce, prosecuting attorney for the Third Judicial District, said Thursday the shooting of Elijah Waltman by Walnut Ridge police officers was "justified."
Boyce also said in his statement to Region 8 News that criminal charges were not "warranted."
Waltman, 53, of Delaplaine was shot and killed on Highway 34 in Lawrence County last month.
Walnut Ridge Police Chief Richy Thatcher officers received a call from Marcella Waltman, Elijah's wife, around 2 a.m. in regards to a domestic dispute.
Thatcher said Elijah and Marcella were driving in two separate vehicles down Highway 34 toward Walnut Ridge when he started shooting at her vehicle. The two cars then collided.
"It looked like he stopped in front of her and one vehicle rear-ended the other vehicle," Thatcher said. "The first officer on the scene said the male subject got out of the vehicle, had a small handgun in his hand, he turned around and shot the female subject. At that time, he turned around and started coming toward the officers."
Chief Thatcher said the two officers told the suspect to drop his gun. Instead, he shot himself in the side, fell to the ground and then turned back toward the officers. That's when they shot him.
"We turned everything over to Arkansas State police and they are investigating everything with the officer shooting," Thatcher said.
ASP spokesman Bill Sadler said the department is investigating the "use of force" by the Walnut Ridge officers. The two officers are currently on paid administrative leave.
Marcella was transported to a hospital in Jonesboro, and then airlifted to The MED in Memphis. Thatcher said she went through two surgeries Thursday and is critical condition. He said she has been taken off a ventilator.
Police still do not know what provoked the man to attack his wife.