2 Arkansas police officers wounded in Walmart shooting; suspect shot

2 Arkansas police officers wounded in Walmart shooting; suspect shot

A shooting at an eastern Arkansas Walmart Monday injured at least three people, police said.


Two officers were shot at a Walmart in Forrest City, about 85 miles east of Little Rock, KATV News first reported. The suspect was also shot, WMC5 reported.

The circumstances surrounding the shooting were not immediately released. Fox 13 Memphis reported that the suspect was killed. Fox News was not able to independently confirm the report.

According to the affiliate, Walmart security called police after a man inside the store began threatening people. Once police arrived, the two officers confronted the suspect. He pulled out a gun and shot them both. St. Francis County Sheriff Bobby May told Fox 13 that the officers then returned fire and shot and killed the suspect, who was pronounced dead at the scene. One of the officers, who was shot four times, was rushed to a hospital in Memphis.

The sheriff identified the suspect as Bobby Joe Gibbs, according to Fox 13.

“That’s not like the Bobby I know. We were raised together, played in the same yard together, slept in the same bed beside each other,” Allen McGowan, the suspect’s first-cousin and an assistant manager at a separate Walmart in Helena, Tenn., told Fox 13. “I’m praying for the families of those victims. I hope the officers he fired on are safe and home with their families soon. Just keep praying.”

McGowan said he worked at the store in Forrest City for ten years before transferring.

“The prayers and thoughts of the ASP are with the two Forrest City Police Officers that were injured this morning in a shooting at the Walmart store, located in Forrest City,” Arkansas State Police wrote on Facebook. “The Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division has been requested to conduct an investigation of the incident, and will be on the premises throughout the day. Please stay away from the area if at all possible.”

Forrest City Police dispatcher Chastity Boyd told The Associated Press that three people were shot inside the Walmart, but she didn’t have information about the extent of their injuries. No arrests have been made. A woman who was inside the Walmart at the time told KATV she heard 12 gunshots before she and her husband ran out the front entrance of the store.

“I’m scared,” Kim Bery, an employee who answered the phone at an auto parts store across the street from the Walmart, told The Associated Press.


Bery said she could see a lot of police presence at the Walmart and that Walmart employees appeared to have been evacuated into the parking lot.

Authorities are working to secure the scene, police said

In the aftermath of a shooting that killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Aug. 3, the retailer came under criticism for having insufficient security at stores. Walmart has since quietly expanded security at all its El Paso stores to include an armed off-duty police officer and a security guard. A spokeswoman for the company said in November that the hiring of off-duty officers in El Paso was not a blanket policy. It’s unclear what security measures were in place at the Forrest City store on Monday.

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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