SEBASTIAN COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Fort Smith police that fired shots at a fugitive last month were justified, prosecutors say.
According to a release from Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Shue, a review of the investigation was conducted and found the officers’ conduct to be within the law.
“It is the opinion of this office that the involvement of Fort Smith Police Department officers Tucker Romesburg and Caleb Jenkins in discharging their weapons was justified,” the release said.
Shue said that the entire investigative file, including the police report, witness statements and the body camera video from the officers involved, as well as video taken by a citizen, were factored into the decision.
Fairburn was shot around 8:40 p.m. on Oct. 25.
Documents from the prosecutor’s office say that the incident started in a wooded area across from Shamrock Liquor Store in Fort Smith when three FSPD officers were trying to serve a felony warrant out of Indiana for the arrest of Fairburn.
Fairburn was found and threatened to kill the officers and then lunged at them.
One of the officers tried to tase him but was unsuccessful. Fairburn then threw a knife at one of the officers, striking his right leg.
Officers then opened fire on Fairburn, who was holding a second knife. They then called emergency services and attempted life-saving measures, including applying tourniquets to his legs.
Fairburn was transported to Baptist Health and later to UAMS in Little Rock.
“In this situation where Fairburn was actively attempting to murder and batter the officers with a knife, I do not find Officer Jenkins’ and Officer Romesburg’s use of deadly force to be unreasonable at the moment they made the decision to fire,” Shue said.