NATIONAL NEWS

An Arkansas sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot, and a suspect is in custody, state police say

Jan 3, 2024, 8:10 AM | Updated: 4:08 pm

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant, and a suspect has been arrested in his death, Arkansas State Police said Wednesday.

Stone County Deputy Justin Smith was shot Tuesday afternoon at a home about 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of Mountain View while trying to serve Clinton Hefton with a misdemeanor terroristic threatening warrant, state police said. Mountain View is about 79 miles (128 kilometers) north of Little Rock.

State police, which is investigating the shooting, said early evidence indicates that Hefton, 52, resisted arrest and shot at Smith. The deputy was found fatally shot by officers who responded to reports of shots fired.

Officers later took Hefton into custody at the home after a brief standoff, state police said. Hefton was charged with capital murder and is being held at the Cleburne County Jail without bond. The jail’s inmate roster indicated Hefton will have a court appearance Jan. 18.

Smith, 60, had served with the sheriff’s office for 14 years, Sheriff Brandon Long said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

“I can say he donated a tremendous amount of time to the Stone County sheriff’s office. There was never a time he was called to come in that he didn’t show up,” Long said. “He was the type of person that when his shift ended, if he needed to stay over, no questions asked he was going to do that.”

Long said “everybody at this agency is heartbroken to have suffered a tragedy such as this.”

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she will order flags lowered in the coming days to honor Smith.

“Our hearts are with his entire family, friends, and colleagues at the Stone County Sheriff’s Office,” she posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “His passing will be mourned by all those who loved him.”

A Stone County deputy died in a shooting in 2019 in Leslie, about 77 miles (124 kilometers) north of Little Rock, when responding to a domestic welfare check. The suspect in the shooting was also fatally shot.

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