Suspected cop killer was previously arrested for aiming gun at police

Body camera image from JPD of an arrest of the suspect in 2021

Pipe Testing Positive for Methamphetamine Found During Arrest

Multiple families woke up to tragedy today as a Stuttgart officer was killed while in pursuit of a Stone County man later killed in a shootout with SWAT officers.

Arkansas State Police say a vehicle pursuit that began about 11 PM Wednesday in Stuttgart ended south of the city near Rieger Road when the suspect, identified as Jacob Cole Barnes, 31, of Mountain View abandoned his vehicle and fled on foot. During the foot chase, Barnes is believed to have fired at officers resulting in the death of Donald Scoby, 45, a Stuttgart police sergeant with four years at the department.

Later, another officer was wounded before Barnes was killed. (Full report from Arkansas State Police here)

On social media, Jacob Cole Barnes went by simply Jake Barnes, which is probably how most people knew him before this week’s incidents. Barnes’ profile on Facebook is filled with incoherent ramblings that suggest, as one user commented, he had some sort of break with reality.

“He needed mental help,” wrote Taylor Holmes of Stuttgart. “What he did was horrible and wrong and flat out stupid and negligent, we know this. But his mental health was clearly not where it needed to be. It’s upsetting and heartbreaking that he took an officer’s life, and we need to be there for Scoby’s family as much as possible right now. Jake also has a family and friends who are hurting because of his decision. Let’s lift them up in prayer the same way.”

The most recent post is from 7:34 AM on December 13. Barnes is posting about a criminal legal matter in which he is supposed to appear in court for later in the day. Based on the screenshot, he appears to be unhappy with his attorney and is seeking to replace him.

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Criminal Cases Against Barnes

Court records show Barnes had multiple open criminal cases against him in Stone County.

In the first incident, filed on May 3, 2022, he is charged with aggravated assault, possession of drug paraphernalia, refusal to submit, and disorderly conduct. The probable cause affidavit says at 10:14 PM on April 29, a call came in to police that a man was walking down the street carrying a weapon. Officers approached to find the man walking down the middle of the road toward them. When the officer activated the lights, Barnes raised an AR-15 rifle and pointed it in the direction of police. The officer stopped his vehicle and exited to cover while Barnes left the roadway and jumped behind trees. The officer told him to lower the weapon and show his hands but reported Barnes only lowered the gun. It took some time but Barnes finally complied and officers placed him into custody.

When he was searched, the rifle was found to be loaded with one in the chamber. Barnes had two fixed-blade knives and a magazine for the rifle on his waistband. Officers also found a white tube they believed was used for the ingestion of a controlled substance that later tested positive for meth. A Walther PPS .40 caliber pistol and two additional magazines were located after a search of his bag and belongings. He was taken to the Stone County Jail.

The second case against against him began there.

At about 11 PM on April 29, Barnes was handcuffed to a bench in the Sallyport of the jail. As jailers explained the process to him, the report states he became irate that he was being held and could not contact his father. The report said he would yell and scream he would not go anywhere until he spoke to his father. When a jailer attempted to gain control of the man, probable cause affidavit says Barnes bit the jailer in the left shoulder. For that, he was charged with aggravated assault on an employee of a correctional facility.

Both cases have seen a number of orders and continuances. The defendant’s bond had been revoked at one point. The most recent activity in the case was on December 12, when the court agreed to a continuance on both cases and reset pre-trial hearing for Tuesday, March 14.

Also in court records filed this year are divorce proceedings for Barnes and his now ex-wife. The ex-wife filed the case, stating that Barnes had been abusive, had pending felony charges (listed above), and was abusing controlled substances. An order of protection was granted against him and the divorce approved by the court. The ex-wife gained full custody of the couple’s one child, born in Dec. 2017, and Barnes was only allowed to see the child with supervised visitation and with the stipulation that the ex-wife could request a drug screening at anytime.

Barnes has a previous court record from August, 2021 in Jonesboro for disorderly conduct, possession of a firearm by certain persons, and carrying a weapon. He received a 30 day jail sentence and one year on probation for that.

Deranged, Rambling Videos on Social Media

Barnes Facebook profile and YouTube page are full of conspiracies about a plot against him.

In one video, posted on YouTube, Barnes rants about living out of his truck, not intending to go to court unless video is found showing he didn’t (really) assault the jailer, and then implying a large conspiracy to somehow put him in a difficult position in life. But during the video, Barnes admits to resisting officers a “little” because he wanted to make a phone call before the officers were allowing it. He hopes to the viewer that someone will be able to put together the conspiracy that has derailed his life. He acknowledges that his family blames his situation on drugs but defends it saying it can be measured how much he’s taken in his life and it was not very much.

In a video posted to Facebook at 9:30 PM on December 10, Barnes is heard speaking to his mother. He apparently is stuck and in need of a tow truck. But the call is tense and Barnes is stand-offish. The mother floats the idea of calling the police to help Barnes.

“You call them. Call them and watch what happens,” Barnes says, repeating the “watch what happens” part several times.

Barnes attempts to skip around in the call to make it seem menacing or villainous but it appears to be that of a desperate mother trying to save her child that she knows to be lost but hasn’t given up on.


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