ST. FRANCIS COUNTY, Ark. — One man is dead following an officer-involved shooting Monday night in Arkansas.
St. Francis County Sheriff Bobby May said the situation began Monday morning around 8:30 a.m. after dispatch received calls saying a man named Bobby Lawson was shooting at his neighbors on County Road 301.
Authorities obtained an arrest warrant for the 64-year-old Lawson. When they arrived at his home, Lawson allegedly met them, brandished a weapon and threatened to kill them.
“I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years now, and every incident that comes up like this, there’s nothing good that comes of it,” St. Francis County Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief Deputy Eddie Adamson said.
Arkansas State Police said deputies tried to get Lawson to surrender, but he refused. That’s when the state authorities were called in to assist.
Around 9 p.m., state police were approaching the house when Lawson stepped outside with two weapons in tow and fired a single shot into the air. A SWAT team member returned fire and Lawson went back inside his home.
“He ended up threatening officers officers with a rifle,” Adamson said. “We continued negotiations by phone and over a PA speaker … We did everything we could as far as trying to negotiate with him.”
Around 11 p.m. state authorities threw irritant gas inside the home. Lawson was shot when he came out of the home.
May told WREG Lawson came out of the home firing at law enforcement. He was shot and killed.
No one was inside the home at the time.
Lawson’s only previous arrest in St. Francis County was in 2018 for terroristic threatening and disorderly conduct.
But deputies did say they were familiar with Lawson. They had been called to his house before for other issues involving neighbors.
“Yesterday, it just seems to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back; whatever it was that set him off,” Adamson said.
His brother said Lawson grew up in the Forrest City community but has struggled with mental health and other issues and did not always take medication.
Arkansas State Police is conducting an investigation into the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers.