INDEPENDENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - A suspect arrested in connection with the murder of an Independence County man bought ammunition 23 minutes before the shooting happened in what authorities say was a planned ambush by the suspect and another man, according to court paperwork in the case.
Jesse Shoemaker and Alex Brosius were arrested this week on suspicion of first-degree murder and criminal possession of body armor in the death of Michael Bryant June 13.
Independence County Sheriff Shawn Stephens stated Thursday in a news release that Bryant was found with a gunshot wound. Bryant was taken to the White River Medical Center where he later died.
The shooting happened on Highway 69 between Moorefield and Sulphur Rock. Authorities were called the scene just before 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Brosius and Shoemaker were taken into custody, according to the sheriff.
According to a probable cause affidavit in the case, Independence County deputies got a call around 9 p.m. June 13 about a shooting in the 5800 block of Harrison Street Annex.
A caller told police that "a suspect she knows as Alex fled the area in a white truck that belongs to Jesse Shoemaker," the affidavit noted.
However, Shoemaker reportedly called deputies to say that his vehicle had been stolen in the 2300 block of Neeley Street and that it was heading toward Walmart.
Shoemaker and the vehicle were later found at the intersection of Wildwood and Waldrip Roads, authorities said, noting they believe Shoemaker used the call to police about a stolen vehicle as a cover-up story.
Deputies interviewed Brosius and Shoemaker about the shooting investigation.
Brosius reportedly told investigators that he and Shoemaker went to the Walmart Shopping Center to buy .308 caliber rifle ammunition.
"After purchasing the ammunition, Alex advised he loaded Jesse's rifle with three 308 caliber bullets," the affidavit noted. "As Alex and Jesse arrived in the area, Alex stated that he dropped Jesse off on a stretch of Lonoke Lane so Jesse could sneak to the rear of Michael Bryant's residence."
Police believe Bryant was confronted by Brosius in the rear yard of the residence and that Brosius was wearing body armor containing armored plates while carrying a rifle.
"During this confrontation, Alex stated that three shots rang out from the south from Jesse Shoemaker's rifle with one of the rounds striking Michael Bryant," the affidavit noted. "After the shooting, Alex stated that he fled the area in Jesse's pickup returning back to Lonoke Lane to pick up Jesse Shoemaker. Jesse Shoemaker and Alex then traveled to the area of Wildwood and Waldrip Road to ditch the truck and the firearms."