Suspect dead, 2 officers injured in shooting inside Forrest City, Arkansas Walmart

Published: Feb. 10, 2020 at 5:45 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 10, 2020 at 5:46 PM CST
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FORREST CITY, Ark. (WMC) - Two officers were injured and a suspect was killed during a shooting Monday morning inside Walmart in Forrest City, Arkansas.

Forrest City police have identified the officers as Lt. Eric Varner and Detective Eugene Watlington.

Varner went to the hospital in Forrest City where he was treated and released.

Watlington was brought to a Memphis hospital and taken into surgery. Lee says he is expected to be OK.

The suspect, identified as 40-year-old Bobby Gibbs, died at the store on Deaderick Road.

Lee says the situation started with a report from someone inside the store that a man was making threats.

Lee says Varner and Watlington are assigned to the Criminal Investigation Department and were in the area when the call came in. He says neither officer was wearing a bullet-resistant vest when they responded to the store.

No civilians were injured in the incident.

Jaleshia Hill was inside the store with her mother and two sisters -- one of them just 3 years old. She says she was at the register when the shooting started.

“All we know, we’re just hearing gunshots,” she said. “Everyone just started running.”

Lee says the shooting happened on the grocery side of the store.

Arkansas State Police is leading the investigation. They are reviewing video surveillance of the incident, but Lee says the officers were not wearing body cameras.

The ATF is also responding to the scene to assist with the investigation.

A spokesperson for Walmart responded to our request for a comment, saying they are aware of the incident and working with the police department to help with the investigation. They referred all other questions to the Forrest City Police Department.

Walmart will remain closed until further notice while the investigation continues.

Forrest City Fire Department is asking the community to avoid Deaderick Road until further notice as it is closed for the investigation.

Forrest City School District says to avoid Central Elementary until law enforcement clears the area.

Governor Asa Hutchinson said he was thankful for first responders.

Lieutenant Gov. Tim Griffin said he was praying for the injured officers.

Lee says there are about 30 officers with his department and they participate in yearly active shooter trainings.

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