Officers injured in Forrest City Walmart shooting expected to recover

Both officers injured in Forrest City Walmart shooting expected to be OK

FORREST CITY, Ark. (WMC) - Forrest City Police Chief Deon Lee says both officers injured in a shooting inside Walmart Monday are expected to be OK.

Law enforcement officials describe a terrifying scene that played out Monday morning at the store on Deaderick Road.

The two officers who were shot are detectives with the Forrest City Police Department. Lee says they were close by when a call came in about a man making threats inside Walmart.

Forrest City police chief and mayor release new details about Walmart shooting

“You don’t wake up in the morning imagining something like this is going to happen,” said Lee. "All these guys know the risks and they welcome the challenges."

Speaking at a news conference Monday afternoon, Lee said neither officer had on bullet-resistant vests.

“The two officers that were shot work in our CID department and most of our detectives don’t wear vests on their daily routines,” said Lee.

Lieutenant Eric Varner was treated at the hospital in Forrest City. He has since been released.

Detective Eugene Watlington was taken to Regional One in Memphis where he underwent surgery.

“Initial prognosis seems he’s going to be OK,” said Lee. “Doing better than expected.”

Suspect dead, 2 officers shot at Forrest City Walmart

The suspect, Bobby Gibbs, was shot and killed at the scene.

Varner has more than 15 years on the force, said Lee, and Watlington is a seasoned officer who moved to the investigations division about a year ago.

“The quick response of our officers saved a lot of lives today,” said Forrest City Mayor Cedric Williams.

Williams also says the quick response from first responders helped save the officers’ lives as well.

No civilians were injured, but an official with the sheriff’s office says they found customers hiding throughout the building when the shooting was over.

Arkansas State Police is the leading agency in this investigation.

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