Monday, April 23, 2012

TOP STORY >> Deadly end on rural road

Leader staff writer

The Arkansas State Police are continuing their investigation of a fatal shooting by a Lonoke County sheriff’s deputy on Thursdsy.

Lonoke County Prosecutor Chuck Graham said Friday that Deputy Jack Fitzhugh shot and killed Dustin Williamson, 32, after Williamson attacked him with a tire-jack stand, not the bed frame he was reportedly swinging at passing cars when a neighbor called 911.

A piece of an iron-bed frame and a broken windshield lay in a the driveway of a residence along Hwy. 294 between Jacksonville and Furlow as State Police special agents processed the scene.

Fitzhugh was in his car when he fired on Williamson who was pronounced dead at the scene.

“It appears he swung and hit the vehicle and the officer fired,” Graham said. “The damage was all on his side of the car so he was in close proximity. The indication is that the officer was attacked.”

Fitzhugh was the only officer on the scene when Williamson was killed, Graham said.

He is on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated by the State Police. Graham said that is standard procedure.

This is the second officer-involved shooting in less than a year. In November 2011, Eric Moore, a dispatcher and part-time deputy shot and killed his neighbor, Michael Perry, who had attacked him with a metal pipe.

The State Police investigation showed that Moore was justified in using deadly force. Moore, who had also been on administrative leave, went back to work. Some time later Graham decided that he would not file charges against Moore.

Spokesman for the state police Bill Sadler said there is no way to know how long the investigation will take. Investigators will interview all witnesses and others with knowledge about the chain of events that led to the shooting, he said.

Williamson’s body was taken to the state crime lab for autopsy.

Leader staff writer Joan McCoy contributed to this report.