Prosecutor: No charges filed in officer-involved shooting, gun fired accidentally

Prosecutor: No charges filed in officer-involved shooting, gun fired accidentally

OSCEOLA, AR (KAIT) - A prosecuting attorney is not filing charges against an officer after he says the shot fired was an accident.

Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington wrote a letter to Arkansas State Police Tuesday indicating no criminal charges would be filed against Osceola Police Officer Jennifer Ephlin who shot and injured a suspect in February.

Ellington stated in the letter that Ephlin was the first officer to arrive on the scene of a reported armed robbery at a gas station. She had her gun drawn as she was exiting her patrol vehicle.

As the officer entered the store, three juvenile suspects ran away. One went through the front of the gas station and the other two through the rear exit.

Ephlin told another OPD officer to arrest the suspect that went out the front while she chased after the others.

The officer ordered one suspect to stop. The suspect did not comply and entered a car not involved in the robbery near a gas pump and sat in the passenger seat.

According to Ellington, Ephlin still had her weapon drawn as she approached the car to arrest the suspect.

After switching the gun in her hands to open the car door, her weapon went off as she grabbed the door handle.

The shot went through the door and struck the suspect in the lower back, according to the letter.

Ephlin alerted other officers to the accidental shot so they would not fire at the suspect in the event they thought the juvenile had fired upon her.

Medical help was called as soon as OPD officers learned the suspect was injured.

Upon review, Ellington stated all the evidence indicated "this was an accident, no criminal charges will be filed as a result of the incident."

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