Investigators working to find motive in Forrest City Walmart officer-involved shooting

Investigators look into motive in officer-involved shooting at Forrest City Walmart

FORREST CITY, Ark. (WMC) - Another shooting made headlines at a Mid-South Walmart -- this time in Forrest City, Arkansas where investigators are looking for a motive.

The shooting left the gunman dead and two officers injured.

Detective Eugene Watlington was brought to Regional One at last check, still in the ICU. We spoke to Forrest City Police Chief Deon Lee who said the officer had to have his spleen removed and some of his pancreas.

He is expected to make a recovery, it’s just not clear if he’ll make a full recovery.

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

Investigators left to figure out what led to shots being fired inside the Walmart on Deadrick road just before 10:30 Monday morning.

“Our department did get a call from Walmart stating they had an individual inside making threats kind of talking out of his head,” said Cheif Lee.

That individual was 40-year-old Bobby Joe Gibbs. Gibbs was shot and killed inside the store. Investigators say he exchanged gunfire with officers. Two officers were injured.

Lieutenant Eric Varner was treated and released from a local hospital. Detective Eugene Watlington sustained more serious injuries and was taken to Regional One in Memphis for surgery.

Suspect dead, 2 officers shot at Forrest City Walmart

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

No customers inside the Wal-mart were injured.

We don’t know what led up to the shooting, but we do know that it occurred in the grocery area of Walmart. Arkansas State Police are now leading this investigation.

The agency said late Monday afternoon that the case will be presented to the St. Francis County Prosecuting Attorney who will determine whether the use of deadly force was consistent with Arkansas laws.

New DOJ data shows increase in officer-involved shootings from 2018 to 2019

Both officers injured were described as seasoned officers. Both worked with the Criminal Investigation Division and neither were wearing bulletproof vests.

Copyright 2020 WMC. All rights reserved.