Authorities are searching for two suspects who allegedly fired shots at a Mayflower officer during a high-speed chase along Interstate 40 late Thursday.
Officer Joshua Patterson was running radar along the eastbound on-ramp by mile marker 135 when he noticed a silver Mercedes sedan speeding at 11:13 p.m.
The vehicle fled when he attempted to stop it and a chase ensued, Patterson said.
As Patterson sped after the fleeing vehicle, “approximately three rounds” were fired toward his unit, Lt. Wesley Tyra said.
One of the rounds struck another vehicle traveling eastbound on Interstate 40, cracking its windshield.
Patterson said the victim was not injured.
Patterson said he believes there were two female suspects in the vehicle. However, their gender or identities were not confirmed as of press time Friday.
“The belongings left behind indicate it was more than likely two female suspects,” he said, noting there were houseshoes and other female clothing items found in the vehicle.
The pursuit ended around 11:40 p.m. on River Mountain Road in Little Rock.
Tyra said when Patterson caught up to the suspect vehicle, it was evident the suspects “bailed out” and had fled on foot.
During the pursuit, the vehicle “blacked out,” turning its headlights off, when turning onto Interstate 430.
Tyra said the suspect continued along Interstate 430 until it turned onto Highway 10, taking the Cantrell exit.
“Once they made it onto that exit, they immediately made a right-hand turn onto River Mountain Road,” he said Friday. “They came into the turn in the road, which is where [Patterson] found the vehicle left in neutral. At that point, he held the scene until he could get some back-up and cleared the vehicle.”
Arkansas State Police, Little Rock Police Department and the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the search for the suspects who allegedly fired rounds at the Mayflower officer. Authorities searched from the ground and air with no luck early Friday morning.
Tyra told the Log Cabin Democrat on Friday that while high-speed chases are “inherently dangerous,” they are sometimes necessary to deter crime from an area.
Whenever possible, Mayflower police officers work to stop the chase just as quickly as the pursuit began, he said.
“It is inherently dangerous to chase somebody at high rates of speed over long, long distances, because then you have that much more contact or interaction with the public,” Tyra said. “Our intention is to stop that pursuit as fast as it began because if you take off from me right in front of [the police station on Ashmore Drive] and I can catch up to you by the time we get to the Exxon, then the amount of people that we’ve endangered by the pursuit is a whole lot less than allowing them to run until they crash or run out of gas. Now, there’s certain variables that come into play with that, such as last night.”
Patterson said there was a lot running through his mind as he chased after the vehicle.
“Any type of high-speed pursuit, especially for long distance, you’ve got a lot going through your mind,” he said. “You’ve got a lot of liability issues. You’ve got a lot of traffic and you’ve got people’s lives at stake, especially when shots are being fired … The fact that shots had been fired was the main concern and shows that they had no concern for human life at that particular point.”
The Mayflower Police Department, ASP and PCSO continue to investigate the case.
The Log Cabin Democrat will continue following this story as more details become available.