In an afternoon press conference yesterday, Bill Sadler, public information officer with the Arkansas State Police, said Stone County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Sgt. Mike Stephen answered a call for a welfare check on a woman in the very southwestern part of Stone County Thursday morning. The call came in at 8:02 a.m. and the 56-year-old Stephen was the first officer to respond.
Sadler said Stephen met the woman outside and began talking with her when shots rang out. Stephen was hit with a bullet. There was an exchange of gunfire. The suspect shooter was hit. When the smoke cleared, both Stephen and the suspect shooter had suffered fatal wounds.
Chief Deputy Sheriff for Stone County Zach Alexander said Stephen was a 20-year law enforcement veteran who had previously worked for the Izard County Sheriff’s Department and as a law enforcement officer on an Oklahoma Indian reservation. Stephen was an Army veteran as well. His body and that of the other male shooter, whose name has not been released, were sent to the State Crime Lab for autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
Sadler said the woman, whose name has not been released, was being questioned by Stephen when she was also hit by the gunfire and was taken by private vehicle to the Stone County Medical Center for treatment. Her wound was not considered life-threatening.
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