Inmate Shoots Himself with Smuggled Gun

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(West Memphis, AR) - An inmate shot himself with a gun that was smuggled into the Crittenden County Jail. The incident happened Saturday, just days after News Channel 3 broke the story that three jailers were arrested for smuggling various items.

"An inmate came to us and said he had been bitten by a spider," Crittenden County Chief Deputy Mike Callender said.

Inmate Robert Turner, Jr. was rushed to the hospital to be treated for the "spider bite" on his thigh, but doctors say it wasn't a bite at all, but rather a bullet wound caused by a .25 caliber handgun. Callender believes Turner was trying to make a silencer with a toilet paper roll and shot himself while testing it.

Deputies found the gun inside a sock in a trash bag during a shakedown.

But how did that weapon get past security?

"It looks like one of those jailers is going to be responsible for bringing that in," Callender said.

We first told you last week that jailers Antonio Tillis, Joe Lee Jimerson, and Quirino Franklin were arrested for allegedly bringing in contraband into the Crittenden County Jail.

Now at least one of them faces more charges.

"Usually the people working there are the ones to prevent things like that," West Memphis resident Jamar Haggans said.

People who live in the county are calling for more security inside the jail.

"They need to get some better security guards," Chantice Rogers said.
"They always stressing about checking the inmates out they need to check the guards," Linda Rogers added.
Chief Callender says that's about to happen. He wants more intensive background checks on all the employees. He adds, "We are considering buying more efficient metal detectors. The sheriff has even asked the Quorum Court for full-time investigator for just the jail."

But for now, the department plans on keeping a watchful eye on who it brings in and who it hires.

Robert Turner, Jr. was in jail awaiting trial for aggravated robbery. He is accused of shooting someone during a home invasion. He faces new charges over this incident.

As for his injury, it was minor. He is already back at the Crittenden County Jail in a medical pod.