Officer hurt in shootout in popular tourist area in Arkansas
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — A man who was seen “pumping a gun” in a busy tourist area in Arkansas was critically wounded in a shootout with police, authorities said.
Hot Springs police said several people called 911 to report a man walking along Bathhouse Row while carrying a long gun and threatening bystanders on Sunday. Officers responded and exchanged gunfire with the man, and one police officer was struck twice, police said.
Authorities say the man carrying the gun was identified as 31-year-old Jonathan Allen Scott of Hot Springs. The wounded officer, Jonathan Smith, was treated and released from a hospital.
The shootout occurred in Hot Springs National Park, about 55 miles (90 kilometers) southwest of Little Rock. The Sentinel-Record reported that the area was crowded with tourists — including some people who took refuge in the closet of a historic bathhouse — but no bystanders were hurt.
One witness, Crystal Eskine of Louisiana, said she was at a nearby park when she saw a man “pumping a gun.”
“When that happened, I took the kids and we went and hid behind a brick wall,” she said. “A while later, we heard about half a dozen gunshots. When we saw the cops we knew it was safe so we started walking again and saw two cops standing next to a body.”
Hot Springs police said the officers involved in the shooting are on paid leave pending an investigation, which will be conducted by Arkansas State Police and the Garland County Sheriff’s Department.