BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Benton County prosecuting attorney has ruled that a sheriff’s office detective was justified in shooting and killing a man in October.

Benton County Sherrif’s Office Detective Vector Xiong was called to the 22800 block of Falling Springs Road shortly before noon on October 15 after a resident reported hearing gunfire on the property of Nelson Amos, 71. Xiong later encountered Amos on a local road “driving a tractor and brandishing a handgun,” according to a report from the sheriff’s office.

The detective fired his rifle, striking Amos, who died at the scene.

The Arkansas State Police investigated the shooting and prepared an investigative file that was submitted to the Benton County prosecuting attorney. On November 16, prosecuting attorney Nathan Smith released a letter stating that the shooting was justified.

His report began by noting that Amos “had exhibited strange behavior for several months before this incident,” with the man’s widow informing investigators that his issues began roughly four months before the shooting. According to her, Amos “began erroneously believing that his neighbors were stealing his cattle and that he was being stalked.”

His widow also expressed concern that “he might harm a neighbor.” Days before the shooting, Amos told friends that “various local law enforcement officers had been arrested for involvement in a corruption ring that was a product of his imagination.”

Smith notes that Amos’ family had begun the process of “seeking help for him,” and that it was still ongoing as of the day of the shooting. The report continues by stating that a 911 caller reported “being harassed by someone up and down the road and that this person was threatening to kill him.” Minutes after that call, one of Amos’ neighbors called to report that Amos was “firing guns while the neighbor drove by on the road.”

Amos himself called 911 and informed the dispatcher that someone needed to come pick up the responding deputies immediately or “you can pick them up in body bags.” A sergeant and another deputy approached the Amos property line and saw him riding a tractor and holding a shotgun.

Amos got off the tractor, put down his weapon, and approached the fence line. He admitted to firing several shots from a .22 pistol that day but denied shooting at neighbors.

When confronted with the allegations of his neighbors, Amos denied them. Deputies attempted to explain how to resolve the situation and Amos “became upset and walked back to his tractor.” He said that he would shoot them if they didn’t leave.

The report notes that deputies were on a public road at all times during this encounter, not on Amos’ property. Amos began driving the tractor back toward his house and again called 911 to inform them that he intended to shoot the deputies if they didn’t leave.

Body camera footage confirmed Amos’ threat to kill them.

“At this point, officers had probable cause to arrest Mr. Amos for Terroristic Threatening in the First Degree,” Smith added. Deputies determined that they needed to arrest Amos due to the “concerning behavior” he had exhibited toward his neighbors.

Amos then drove his tractor back toward the road and was told numerous times by loudspeaker to get off. Detective Xiong arrived as part of the backup that the deputies had requested.

Detective Xiong took up a position along the fence line, armed with his patrol rifle. Deputies cut the lock off Amos’ gate in case they needed to access the driveway, but otherwise, they stayed off his property.

Amos approached again and got off his tractor approximately 35 yards away from where the deputies were positioned. Detective Xiong saw Amos pull a pistol out of his pocket. The gun fell to the ground and Amos raised his hands in the air as Detective Xiong gave him “loud, verbal commands” to walk toward his position.

Amos again told deputies they needed to leave and he turned around to pick up the dropped pistol. After he picked it up, he pointed it “directly at Detective Xiong,” according to the report.

Detective Xiong then fired his rifle twice. Other deputies immediately ran into the field where Amos was laying after being shot.

They handcuffed him and removed some of his clothes to begin life-saving measures. Despite those efforts, Amos died at the scene.

Considering the totality of the circumstances, the deputies had probable cause to arrest Mr. Amos for terroristic threatening prior to the shooting based on his threats to the deputies. In the events that followed, Detective Xiong had a reasonable belief that Mr. Amos would imminently use deadly physical force against them when Mr. Amos pointed his pistol at Detective Xiong. This belief was corroborated by the numerous statements Mr. Amos had made that he would shoot the deputies if they did not leave the roadway. Based on the foregoing, the shooting in this case was justified under Arkansas law.

Nathan Smith, Benton County Prosecuting Attorney

Smith added that he was grateful to the Arkansas State Police for their “thorough and prompt” investigation.