The former president of a prestigious, private college in Conway refused to drop his weapon for police during a December incident where a man suspected of commercial burglary burst into his home during the wee morning hours, according to an incident report.
Just a day after Christmas, a man who burglarized a local business, was tracked by police to the home of then Hendrix College President J. Timothy Cloyd. The suspect rang the doorbell at 1256 Winfield St., was allowed in to use the phone and then ran to the back when he saw police closing in, according to the report.
Cloyd had a small firearm that he refused to put down while police were apprehending the suspect. He cussed at police and said he would kill the suspect, according to the report.
Police eventually took Cloyd’s weapon from him. The report notes he smelled of alcohol and had slurred speech.
One officer said in the report that Cloyd’s actions put police at “risk.”
Spokeswoman La Tresha Woodruff said police are trained to handle situations like the one in Cloyd’s home, and Cloyd should have allowed authorities to step in and handle it. Instead, police had to concentrate on Cloyd and the suspect without knowing whether the suspect was armed, she said.
However, Cloyd’s response is not completely atypical among people in high-stress situations, Woodruff said.
“He had a right to be upset that someone burst into his home after midnight,” Woodruff said. “Sometimes people act off of emotions and don’t readily respond to police.”
After taking Cloyd’s gun, police found and arrested William S. Carter, 20, of 1604 Westlake No. 1000 in Conway, in the bathroom, according to an incident report. Carter was taken to the hospital because he was foaming at the mouth and unresponsive.
Cloyd resigned from his post as Hendrix president Friday because he thought it was time the college brought in someone new.
“The incident is not related to Dr. Cloyd’s resignation,” Hendrix spokesman Rob O’Connor wrote in email Tuesday.
In a mass email Friday, Cloyd said “through prayer and deep reflection with my family, I have decided that it is time for new leadership.” He said he plans to seek “other opportunities” and resume teaching at Hendrix.
Spokesman Rob O’Connor sent a statement via email Friday attributed to Frank Cox, chief communications officer at Hendrix.
“An incident involving an intruder and the Conway police department’s response took place at the president’s home during the holiday break when the campus was closed,” Cox said in the statement. “While we have no comment on the specifics of the incident, we are grateful that the Conway police were able to resolve the situation, take the intruder into custody, and that no one was harmed during the incident.”
Cloyd was not arrested or cited for the incident, Woodruff said.
“This man was in his home minding his own business and someone burst into his home,” she said.
Shortly after the incident, the police department requested the Arkansas State Police review the case to determine if there were any violations of the conceal carry law, but the department has not heard back “one way or the other,” Woodruff said in email.
(Staff writer Scarlet Sims can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1246. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)