Officers arrest man who fired shots Friday morning in Tyronza

Officers arrest man who fired shots Friday morning in Tyronza
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

TYRONZA, AR - Police arrested an armed man in Tyronza shortly after 6:30 a.m. Friday.

According to Poinsett County Sheriff Chief Deputy Kevin Molder, they received a call to assist Tyronza police with a person firing shots in a home on Mullins Street.

Molder said when they arrived, the man inside, identified as 47-year-old Richard Leffler, wouldn't come out and started firing shots again inside the home.

Tyronza Police Chief Tony Turner told Region 8 News neighbors originally called police saying a man was shooting inside his home.

Chief Turner said when he arrived on the scene he heard a pistol and multiple shotguns going off.

Police were able to convince the man to come out of the home. Turner said the man appeared to be under the influence of an unidentified medication.

While searching the home, Turner said at least three rooms had several bullet holes in them.

At some point during the shootings, the man shot a wall heater causing gas to fill the home.

Emergency crews were able to ventilate the home immediately.

According to Turner, officers removed 5 or 6 long guns and one pistol.

He said the incident was over by 7:30 a.m. Friday.

Several residents told Region 8 News they are surprised because the small town of Tyronza is usually quiet.

"It's like Mayberry," said Bobby Cole Goodman, a Tyronza resident. "It's peaceful and quiet and I am sure this is just an isolated situation and I am sure they handled it professionally."

One local resident said she was awake when the shots started and she began to panic while getting her husband and kids to safety.

"Gunshots! That is what I heard," she said. "I mean I was up at 3:00 this morning and around 5:37, I heard the first shot really close to my home. Then I heard the next shot that also sounded close to my home. Then the panic mode started to set in."

That resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said she is really thankful for the dispatcher she spoke with during her call to the police because he kept her really calm in a panicky situation.

Danny Lucas is a member of the National Rifle Association and he was taking his normal morning walk when he saw Leffler.

"I heard some hollering across the road and I noticed he was carrying a gun behind his neighbor's house," said Lucas.

Like many of his neighbors, Lucas locked his doors and called the police.

Chief Turner said no one else was home at the time of the shooting, and no one was injured,

Amy Hill, Leffler's sister, told Region 8 News that she looks at her brother as her hero, which is why this is something their family is not used to seeing.

"It's kind of shocking and I mean it was pretty sudden," said Hill.

In any case, she said she looks forward to rebuilding from this situation.

"We are pretty close and we are a pretty small family so we stick together," said Hill.

Hill said the Tyronza community is such a great area to live in and even though this incident is unfortunate, they are asking for prayers to help cope with the situation.

"We just need strength and patience as we get through this and we just ask for prayers right now," said Hill.

Leffler is now in custody at the Poinsett County Detention Center. He is charged with terroristic threatening and discharging a firearm in city limits

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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