Police in Helena-West Helena shot and injured a 35-year-old man who, police said, pointed a pistol at officers after his family called for medical help, according to the city's mayor, who called the Thursday morning shooting "a tragedy."
Mayor Kevin Smith said the shooting happened after midnight when police responded with ambulance crews to a home in the Caney Creek subdivision, off Springdale Road. The man, identified by police as Markel Barrow, went to his family's home after being away for several months, he said.
Smith said Barrow's family called 911 to intervene during an apparent mental-health breakdown, but Barrow began struggling with medical personnel.
Several police officers arrived at the home to try to calm him down, he said.
At some point Barrow pulled out a gun and pointed it at police before a Helena-West Helena officer shot him, the Arkansas State Police said.
An officer ordered Barrow to drop the gun before at least one officer opened fire, authorities said.
Medical crews took Barrow to a hospital in Memphis, and no officers were hurt. Authorities said Barrow was in stable condition Thursday morning.
Smith said he hopes Barrow recovers and "gets the help he needs." He said he also would like to see the quick return of the officer in a department that's shorthanded.
"It's a tragedy anytime someone gets shot," Smith said. "The person really just needed mental-health care, and we weren't able to get him to a mental-health person before it happened."
The mayor added that the officer will likely be put on paid administrative leave, a standard practice for most police departments after the use of potentially deadly force.
"It's traumatic anytime you shoot somebody," Smith said.
The Arkansas State Police responded to the home to review the officer's use of force. The agency said it plans to forward its findings to prosecutors for any possible criminal charges.
The name of the officer or officers who fired weren't immediately released.
Investigators remained at the scene as state officials arrived.
Smith said officers weren't wearing body cameras.
The city recently bought cameras through a grant, but it is awaiting a City Council approval before officers will be required to turn them on. Other internal rules about their use also have to be set.
State Desk on 04/16/2019
Print Headline: Helena officer shoots, injures man