Bill Evans, Brandon Paudert die in traffic stop shooting

    11:21 PM, May 20, 2010   |    comments
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    We know the suspect's van is registered to the House of God in Ohio, but it is still unknown who the two men were who opened fire or why they did it.

    A community has been devastated. Thursday, just before noon West Memphis Officer Bill Evans pulled over a white van with Ohio tags on Airport Road off I-40. Sgt. Brandon Paudert arrived for back up, but the traffic stop was far from routine.

    Arkansas State Police public information officer Bill Sadler says, "It's our belief that Officer Evans was shoved to the ground by one of the suspects in the mini van and gun fire was directed at both officers."

    Paudert died on the scene and Evans died at the hospital. They are the son and nephew of West Memphis Police Chief Bob Paudert.

    Ninety-minutes later, the van was spotted at a Walmart, about a mile from the shooting.

    Crittenden County Sheriff Dick Busby and Deputy W.A. Wren were met with gunfire in the parking lot as dozens of officers arrived.

    Witnesses describe the scene as chaos: "First I heard gun shots and people started running in the store screaming saying their coming inside, their coming inside and we just ran to the back."

    Both officers were critically wounded; the suspects who used a long rifle and hand gun were fatally shot.

    There are more questions than answers at this time. The investigation is being lead by the State Police and FBI. Both suspects' bodies have been taken to the coroners' offices to be positively identified.

    West Memphis Assistant Chief Mike Allen says, "These men were out there, protecting all of us and they did a damn good job of it. Our prayers are with their families and each one of you, if you would just say a prayer for their family tonight. I'd appreciate it."

    Paudert was 39 and Evans was 38; they leave behind their wives and young children. Busby and Wren are in critical, but stable condition.

    A memorial fund is being set up for the families.

    Stay with Today's THV and todaysthv.com for developments in the ongoing investigation.

    Police tell Today's THV a wildlife officer assisted in apprehending the suspects at Walmart. Sadler explains, "A very brave young wildlife officer in his state truck rammed the suspects vehicle preventing an exit of the suspects. There was a continued exchange of gun fire involving law enforcement officers. Those suspects were armed with a long rifle and a hand gun."




    (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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