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Bryant Officer Injured in Shootout with Suspect

An overnight shooting injures a Bryant cop and the alleged gunman.
Multiple agencies responded to the officer-involved shooting in Bryant.
Multiple agencies responded to the officer-involved shooting in Bryant.
 (Coles County Sheriff’s Department )
(Coles County Sheriff’s Department )
BRYANT, AR - A Bryant police officer is recovering after a shootout with a suspect.

It happened outside of the Fred's store at 3395 Highway 5 in Bryant around 11 o'clock Tuesday night.

The Bryant Police Department confirms Officer Scott Johnson was shot twice in the hand and once in the shoulder, and that he returned fire.  The Arkansas State Police (ASP) says the officer was treated at the hospital and released.

Bryant Police say the suspect, Thomas O'Dell, 41, was also shot and then taken to the Saline Memorial Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. O’Dell was from Mattoon, Illinois where he was wanted for Aggravated Robbery and 1st Degree Murder. There are also reports that O’Dell had stolen two vehicles, one in Springfield, Missouri and the other in Mansfield, Missouri, just this past week. One of those vehicle thefts was at gunpoint.

The Coles County Sheriff's Office in Missouri says there was a $5,000,000 warrant for O'Dell's arrest.

WAND-TV in Central Illinois provides background about why police were looking for O'Dell. The station reported last week that O'Dell had been spotted in Missouri after ditching a stolen car at a store in Mansfield before stealing another car there.

The station also reported that O'Dell was wanted for the March 18th shooting death of a 33-year-old man who worked as a bartender at a Mattoon, Illinois bar.

Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the shooting in Bryant.

Investigators looking into the Bryant shooting are trying to determine if O'Dell was just passing through Arkansas when he stopped in Bryant, or if he had connections here.

ASP's Criminal Investigations Division has taken over the investigation.

Bryant Police say it was 15 years ago when the agency had its last officer-involved shooting.

The ASP issued the following news release about the incident:

The Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division has been requested to investigate a shooting incident overnight which left one man dead and a Bryant Police Officer wounded.
 
Bryant Police responded to a burglar alarm at the Fred’s Store at 3395 State Highway 5 about 11 PM (Tuesday, April 2nd). The first officer arriving at the store encountered an individual inside a fenced area along the west side of the building.
 
As a second officer approached the store, an exchange of gunfire occurred between a suspect inside the fence and the fist officer.
 
The first officer was wounded during the gunfire and transported to a Little Rock hospital where the officer was treated and released. The suspect was fatally wounded and pronounced dead at the scene.
 
The suspect is believed to a murder fugitive wanted by Illinois authorities. State Police Special Agents are awaiting positive identification of the suspect by the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory.
 
An investigation of the officer involved shooting is underway and a case file is being prepared for consideration by the Saline County Prosecuting Attorney to determine if deadly force was used consistent with Arkansas law.
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