West Memphis police shoot, kill robbery suspect from Indiana

(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC) - West Memphis police officers shot and killed a person who they said robbed a West Memphis hotel.

The robbery happened Saturday, April 15 at America's Best Value Inn in the 2400 block of East Service Road just after 7 a.m.

West Memphis Police Department identified the suspect who was killed as Olugbalah Ridley, 33, of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Officers responded to the robbery, and after searching the area for the suspect, officers found Ridley in an apartment complex.

Ridley had a gun, and officers said when they asked him to drop the gun, he pointed it at them instead. An officer fired a shot and hit Ridley, who died from his injuries.

"I was in bed and I heard three shots," Mattie Jones said.

"We heard three gunshots, and it sounded like it was right in front of our apartment," another neighbor said.

Special Agents with Arkansas State Police were called in to investigate the shooting.

"I could see they were chasing someone," Jack Balakrishnan said.

Balakrishnan manages a hotel on East Service Road in West Memphis. He heard a commotion around 7 a.m. right after he got to work. He believes he spotted the robber trying to get away from the scene.

"Vaguely, I could see one person running all the way from that side, and a couple of minutes back I could see gunshots that's it," Balakrishnan said.

Kevin Farrow says he saw police chasing the suspect.

"I heard one bang. Next thing you know it was lots of police cars out here," Farrow said. "For everything you do, you got to accept the consequences. I hate that the man died, but think before you do things."

Farrow has personally dealt with the loss of a loved one at the hands of police before. Ten years ago in the same apartment complex, his 12-year-old cousin DeAntae Farrow was shot and killed by a West Memphis officer as he held what was later discovered to be a toy gun.

"I wish there was things for the kids to do in this city," Farrow said. "There's nothing for them to do."

With that history, people in this neighborhood have mixed thoughts on local police. However, they all want answers to what exactly led up to Ridley's death.

"If he had stopped he would be living right now I believe," Jones said. "I just hope they find out what happened. I just hate so bad it happened, you know."

West Memphis Police Department has not released the identity of the officer who fired the shots. They said that officer is now on paid administrative leave.

Arkansas State Police is handling the investigation and will hand over the evidence to the prosecuting attorney to determine if the shooting was justified.

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