An Arkansas policeman was killed when he was hit by a vehicle in a convenience store parking lot and two suspects are in custody, police said.
The Associated Press (AP) reported:
Pea Ridge officer Kevin Apple died Saturday after being struck by the vehicle that matched the description of a vehicle sought by police, according to police Lt. Michael Lisenbee. The vehicle was parked at gas pumps at the store about 155 miles (249 kilometers) northwest of Little Rock, when Apple and another officer approached it to speak to the occupants, Lisenbee said.
“As a result of the contact the officers were attempting to make with that vehicle, an altercation erupted,” Lisenbee explained.
The driver reportedly rammed into a patrol car, then fled the scene, hitting and killing Apple, according to Lisenbee. No other injuries were reported to authorities.
Lisenbee did not explain why the vehicle was being sought and cited the ongoing investigation into the incident.
“Police later found the vehicle in Bella Vista, about 9 miles (14 kilometers) west of Pea Ridge, and arrested Shawna Cash, 22, of Pine Bluff, and Elijah Andazola, 18, of Bella Vista, on warrants including capital murder or attempted capital murder and fleeing,” the AP article read.
Officials did not state which suspect was believed to be the driver but preliminary charges against Cash reportedly include driving with a suspended or revoked license and also reckless driving.
Both of the individuals were jailed without bond.
“Our department is in shock right now. We’re a home town. Everyone in our Police Department are family,” Lisenbee told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
It is with great sadness that we share with you the death of Officer Kevin Apple. Officer Apple has been in law…
Gov. Asa Hutchinson offered his condolences to the officer’s family in a social media post:
I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Pea Ridge police officer Kevin Apple. My prayers are with Officer Apple’s family and the entire Pea Ridge community during this time. I have ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in tribute to Officer Apple.
— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) June 26, 2021
Video footage showed officers from police departments across Northwest Arkansas escorting the body of Officer Apple to the state crime lab in Little Rock on Sunday:
Police departments from all across Northwest Arkansas beginning their journey to escort the body of Pea Ridge Police Officer, Kevin Apple, to the state crime lab in Little Rock.
Posted by KNWA & FOX24 – Northwest Arkansas & River Valley News on Sunday, June 27, 2021
According to the Gazette, Apple had worked for the Pea Ridge Police Department for three years and was a 23-year law enforcement veteran having worked for additional Northwest Arkansas agencies.
“He certainly has honored his community by sacrificing his own life in their service,” Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Smith stated during a press conference. “We want to honor him.”