I-30 police chase and wreck. (Photo: Max Seigle)
Clifford Jones (Photo: Benton Police Department)
BENTON, Ark. (KTHV) - Police have now released the name of the suspect killed in an officer-involved shooting on I-30 earlier Tuesday.
The Benton Police Department said Clifford Jones, 29, was killed after officers returned his fire during an 8-minute long police chase.
Lt. Kevin Russell with the Benton Police Dept. said officers were initiating a felony narcotics investigation around 3:30 p.m. with Jones near Gattin Road and Madison Village when the chase began. Russell said as officers approached the vehicle near the Alcoa Road exit, the driver took off eastbound on the service road toward Little Rock.
Officers driving ahead of Jones used stop sticks to safely deflate Jones' tires; when this happened, Jones fired shots at officers. According to Lt. Kevin Russell, officers then returned fire to Jones due to the serious threat they were facing. Jones then careened across the grass median of I-30 where his vehicle came to rest against the center concrete divider.
"The suspect started firing rounds off toward the officers and the officers did in fact return fire and the suspect then merged or careened on the interstate where you see it now on the highway," Lt. Kevin Russell said.
Jones was pronounced dead at the scene; however, it is not known whether he died from a gunshot wound or from wrecking his truck.
The vehicle was originally on the service road, but swerved onto the interstate during gunfire exchange. The incident caused eastbound lanes of I-30 to be shut down, backing up traffic for miles as officers investigated the incident.
No one other than Jones was injured in the chase or shooting.
"Everybody is talking about it," Ashton Gunawan said.
She's talking about a fatal police chase Tuesday afternoon that shut down part of Interstate 30 in Benton. Ashton Gunawan works nearby at Brown's Country Store and came across all this on the way to work.
"I was coming from Alexander of course, and the police, I saw police, they just started going by, and the ambulance started going by," Gunawan said. "And I called my husband, I was like 'Where are you at?' I was worried about my family and stuff."
The incident shook up onlookers, like Gunawan. She expects the talk around here to continue much longer than the chase.
"I didn't know what was going on. I was just thinking, 'I just missed something big,'" Gunawan added.
She also said that a number of people came by the restaurant to wait out all the traffic caused by the wreck. When THV 11 left the scene just after 7 p.m. Tuesday night, both lanes of traffic along I-30 near Alcoa Road were clear.
Benton police are not releasing the names of the officers who fired at the suspect because this is an ongoing investigation.