Deputy-Involved Shooting in Pine Bluff Raises Questions

PINE BLUFF, AR (KARK) -- According to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, one of their deputies shot a man in the chest at a Pine Bluff nightclub.

And tonight, there are questions on if this deputy was even on the job.

Witnesses we talked to say they saw some men fighting early this morning -- including the deputy -- and then heard a gun shot.

Jimmy Wells said, "By the time we got in the car, we heard some shots and we just left the parking lot."

Tonight, the deputy -- who's been with the department since 2006 -- is on paid administrative leave.

The shooting victim is recovering at a hospital.

He's in stable condition.

According to a Jefferson County Sheriff's Department press release, a deputy shot 36-year-old Dedric Jones at Swann's Bar and Lounge just after 3:00 this morning.

Major Lafayette Woods said, "At this point in time we do not know the circumstances around the actual encounter so I can't say what led to the actual shooting."

Major Woods would not release the name of the deputy and says he's not sure if the deputy was on-duty at the time of the shooting.

But witnesses say they could tell he was in law enforcement.

Wells said, "The vest thing and a little badge around his neck."

Pastor James Murry is a cousin to the shooting victim.

He visited Jones -- at the hospital -- hours after Jones was shot in the chest.

Murry said, "I was there to see a miracle action of God and that was the real exciting part about being at the hospital this afternoon."

Investigators say -- at this time -- it doesn't appear that Jones carried a weapon.

Pair that with the uncertainty of the deputy being on or off duty and family members are confused as to why he could walk away free.

Pastor Murry said, "And I'm really concerned about the officer's safety as well as anybody else that he may have come in contact with."

Since this shooting happened inside city limits, Pine Bluff police are also investigating.

A spokesman for the department would not comment on the case.

An internal investigation is also underway at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

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