BATESVILLE, Ark.– The Batesville police chief said 28-year-old Andrew Hatley is in critical condition as of Sunday night and two officers are on paid administrative leave per policy.
An officer-involved shooting in Batesville left residents shaken up and a small police department already down an officer even shorter staffed now.
We learned from police two Batesville police officers pulled over a car because Independence County Sheriff Deputies were trying to find and serve a protection order to the passenger in the car.
Police said that passenger is Andrew Hatley who is in critical condition after the chief said the ran from the cops then pulled a gun and pointed it at the officers.
Christmas lights twinkled Sunday night off the stretch of Highway 167 just inside the city limits of Batesville.
Tina Hollinger works at the gas station right by the stretch of Highway 167 where it happened around 7:15 Saturday night.
Hollinger said, “I was scared to death. I was terrified because I didn’t know it’s dark out here we didn’t know where the gunshots coming from or going to
The stop sign where we found out the traffic stop happened lit up with police lights Saturday night ring in front of where Hollinger works.
“I saw chaos and just caution tape everywhere,” she told us.
We talked with Batesville Police Chief Alan Cockrill Sunday evening.
“He (Hatley) turned on them with the weapon and my officers engaged him with gunfire,” the chief said.
Chief Cockrill said a traffic stop turned into gunfire when the 28-year-old man ran from the two officers then pointed a gun at them. After that happened was when police said the two cops fired their guns.
“I know he (Hatley) was hit once in one of his arms at least once in his leg but I can’t confirm any other injuries,” Chief Cockrill said Sunday night.
He identified the two officers involved as Officer Amber Branscum and Officer Jordan Akins.
Chief Cockrill said 32-year-old Officer Branscum has been with the department for one year. He told us 31-year-old Officer Akins has been with the department for 6.
The chief said the two officers were wearing and had turned on their body cameras so there is video and audio of the incident.
“I’ve got one officer that was still injured from the November 3rd shooting that’s gonna be off an extended period of time and I got two officers that are (paid) administrative leave. So we’re three short through the Christmas season,” he said.
We learned only 2 dozen people work at the police department. Something Cockrill said he hopes will change if four more officer positions get approved by the city.
The chief said, “We’ll make it. Three short but we’re not out.”
He told our reporter Price McKeon he plans to patrol the street and put administrative staff out on patrol if necessary to fill shifts.
Hollinger said, “Pop. Pop. Pop and then all of a sudden it was over and I heard somebody screaming.”
Tina said she will try to get some rest after being shaken this holiday season.
Police said a bullet hit a car passing by but no one was injured.
Arkansas State Police are investigating.
Chief Cockrill said the officers were not injured.
He also said he has to have an officer guarding Hatley while he is in the hospital. He said the Independence County Sheriff’s office is helping them cover 12 hours of shifts since the PD has 3 officers already out.