Prosecutor: Apartment resident justified in killing of Fort Smith gunman

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FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Sebastian County Prosecutor’s Office will not charge the man who shot and killed a gunman from his apartment balcony in Fort Smith last year.

Wallace A. West, 58, an off-duty Department of Homeland Security employee, was justified in the killing of Zachary Arnold, 26, according to a release from Prosecutor Daniel Shue on Wednesday.

Police say Arnold was firing a semiautomatic rifle in the greenspace of the Three Corners Townhouses at 3500 South 74th Street in the early morning hours of May 15, 2020.

Lois Hicks, 87, was struck multiple times and killed inside of her apartment.

Arnold continued to fire at neighboring apartments before West, having been awakened by the gunshots, was able to fire two rounds from his balcony using a single bolt-action hunting rifle, according to a release from public information officer Aric Mitchell with the Fort Smith Police Department (FSPD).

West’s first shot missed, drawing gunfire from Arnold to his location.

After Arnold turned to go toward another apartment, West was able to fire a second round, which struck and killed Arnold.

West and his adult son then moved down to the greenspace where Arnold was laying near his weapon.

Both Hicks and Arnold were dead at the time of FSPD’s arrival, Mitchell said.

West reportedly handed over his rifle to responding officers and “was visibly shaken by what transpired.”

“It is the belief of this Department, confirmed by today’s decision of the Sebastian County Prosecutor to not file charges, that Mr. West acted lawfully when he shot Mr. Arnold and likely saved a number of lives in the process. At last count, Mr. Arnold had fired 93 rounds from his semiautomatic rifle before Mr. West was able to stop him. There were no other fatalities or injuries, though a number of residents were home at the time of the assault,” Mitchell said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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