JONESBORO, Ark. – Officers from the Jonesboro Police Department were involved in a shooting that, over a week later, was never revealed to the public until NEA Report learned about it from two anonymous sources.
Over one week after the officer-involved shooting, JPD released no reports and no information to the public about this, so we don’t have a confirmed time or date when the incident took place. Multiple well-connected sources verified the shooting happened to NEA Report, on conditions of anonymity. One of these sources said releasing it wasn’t a priority to police, who decided they would “get to it when the time was right.”
We sent several contact efforts to police informational sources. Sgt. Lyle Waterworth contacted us back via text at 9:25 PM Wednesday, verifying the shooting happened “last week sometime.” He said it was “Tuesday or Wednesday.”
What We Are Told Happened
At the Jonesboro Shooting Range, several JPD officers were practicing, including a patrol officer and a K9 officer. The K9 officer let his dog, Rocket, out without a leash or muzzle, one source said, to run off energy, play, or such.
Somehow, the dog became activated at the sound of the gunfire. It ran a large distance toward the source of the fire, which was the patrol officer. Both of our anonymous sources say the officer shot the dog and was not injured, but perhaps feared he was moments from injury.
One person said there was tension between the K9 officer, who felt the shooting was unnecessary, and the patrol officer.
The K9 required surgery. Fortunately, we are told the dog survived and is recovering.
Nothing about this was been released to the public or the press before we learned of it from an anonymous source who told us they were confused why it had not been reported – because they heard about it on May 1.
“We did have a training incident involving an officer and a K9,” Waterworth said late Wednesday. “The incident is in an internal investigation.”
Waterworth indicated it had not been released to the public yet because the chief had not been available to review the case.
NEA Report has submitted a FOIA request for all files on the case as well as any body camera footage, although we don’t know if any is available.
I fault the officer for letting his K9 out of his patrol car and off leash with gun fire nearby. Poor training and poor judgement. Glad the dog survived.