Arkansas Wildlife officer talks about pivotal role in West Memphis shootout

Arkansas Wildlife Officer Michael Neal
Arkansas Wildlife Officer Michael Neal

By Jason Miles - bio | email

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC-TV) - Arkansas Wildlife Officer Michael Neal has wounds on his head, hands, and even his ears.

"I have shrapnel in my back, sides, hips," he said.

In an interview Monday, Neal said he never had time to think about intervening in last Thursday's shootout in the parking lot of the West Memphis Walmart.

It was instinctual.

"We have a lot of the equipment and resources to deal with situations a lot of people don't realize," he said. "We are heavily armed."

Neal has yet to give an official statement to the Arkansas State Police.  So, there's still a lot he cannot talk about.

The 33-year-old firearms expert does confirm he was simply among the law enforcement officers summoned to West Memphis to help search the area for the suspects who had gunned down two officers before dying themselves in a hail of gunfire.

"I don't want anybody to lose their lives," he said. "That's not our goal. That's not what we want, and I'm sorry the gentlemen lost their lives."

Neal does not consider his actions heroic.

"I am not a hero," he said.

Neal said the officers who never made it home that day are the true heroes.

"I wish there was something I could do to help them," he said.

Neal has been with the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission for three years and served as a sheriff's deputy before that.

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