Man, woman identified in deadly officer-involved shooting

Published: Jul. 19, 2019 at 1:01 PM CDT
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STONE COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - Arkansas State Police identified two people involved in an officer-involved shooting that left a Stone County sheriff’s deputy dead.

On Friday, ASP said 39-year-old Samuel Fullterton of Leslie was killed in the incident. Erika Johnson, 32, who also lived with Fullterton at the home on Flag Road, suffered a non-life-threatening injuring in the shooting. Deputy Mike Stephen was killed.

Two deputies, along with Stephen, were present at the time of the shooting, ASP stated.

Special agents with ASP’s Criminal Investigation Division continue to investigate the shooting incident and will present their file to the Stone County prosecuting attorney to determine if the use of deadly force by the law enforcement officers was warranted.

The shooting occurred around 9:30 a.m. Thursday in the southwest part of the county near the Van Buren County line.

In an afternoon press conference, ASP Public Information Specialist Bill Sadler said there was a call around 8 a.m. at the residence in the 2000-block of Flag Road, 17 miles southwest of Mountain View.

Press conference from Stone County, Arkansas

Press conference from the Arkansas State Police on this morning's officer involving shooting in Stone County

Posted by Region 8 News on Thursday, July 18, 2019

It was a call about a domestic check and Deputy Mike Stephen took the call.

It is with great sadness that we report the LODD of Stone County Sheriff Sergeant Mike Stephen. Mike also held the rank of Fire Chief with Pineville Fire Department. More information to follow.

Posted by Arkansas Fire News on Thursday, July 18, 2019

Stephen arrived at 8:39 a.m. and encountered a woman and, in short order, gunfire erupted, Sadler said. Stephen died at the scene.

His body, along with forensic evidence collected at the scene, was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory in Little Rock.

The lab released Stephen’s body Friday following an autopsy.

Chief Deputy Zach Alexander said Stephen was a 20-year law enforcement veteran, as well as a U.S. Army veteran.

Alexander said Stephen, who was 56, was a patrol sergeant who served his community well and was willing to help people.

Stephen was also the fire chief of the Pineville Fire Service, Alexander said.

Alexander said the department will miss Stephen’s leadership and that he spoke with Stephen Thursday morning.

In a Facebook post Thursday, the department said they appreciated the support of the public in a trying time.

“We at the Stone County Sheriff’s Department would like to say thank you for all of the prayers and kind words. Our Blue family has lost a great man who wore the badge with pride and honor. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sergeant Mike Stephen’s family,” the post noted, quoting Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Earlier, State Senator Missy Thomas Irvin from Mountain View, tweeted that the deputy killed in the shootout was Mike Stephen.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) and Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) also commented on the tragedy.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson also released a statement Thursday about the incident.

“It was heartbreaking to hear that Stone County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Stephen was killed in the line of duty today. Deputy Stephen’s death is a somber reminder that our law-enforcement officers risk their lives every day to protect ours," Gov. Hutchinson said. "I am grateful for the men and women who willingly put their safety on the line every time they put on the uniform. My heart goes out to his wife and son, and to his fellow officers and friends in their grief at the tragic loss of Mike Stephen.”

Gov. Hutchinson also ordered the Arkansas state flag to be flown at half-staff in honor of Deputy Stephen, with the flag to be flown at half-staff immediately through the day of interment.

Stephen also responded last year to a crash in Baxter County that killed his son.

At the time, Mike Stephen said his son, Joe Stephen, was working as a firefighter in Pineville.

Joe Stephen was heading home that evening to check on his girlfriend, who was pregnant with their first child, when the crash happened.

If you would like to make a donation to Sgt. Stephen’s family, an account has been set up at the First National Bank of Izard County.

The Stone County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook that the bank has locations in Mountain View, Melbourne, Mt. Pleasant, and Horseshoe Bend.

The sheriff’s office adds that if you are unable to make it to any of these locations and still want to help, you can mail donations to:

P.O. Box 1999, Mountain View AR, 72560.

Checks can be made out to Susan Stephen, donation account.

Region 8 News will continue to track this story and bring updates as they become available.

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