CABOT, Ark. (AP) — A central Arkansas prosecutor said the fatal shooting of a handcuffed man in the back of a sheriff's patrol car was justified, because the suspect had a concealed handgun that he fired at authorities.
Lonoke County Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Graham said his office reviewed evidence from an Arkansas State Police investigation and determined the sheriff and two agents with a state agency were justified in the May 19 shooting death of 35-year-old Jonathan McIntosh, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Gazette (http://bit.ly/1M4Uty8 ) reported.
Graham said McIntosh had hidden the weapon under layers of clothing so it couldn't be found when he was frisked.
"The officers reacted quickly and decisively and had no other means of non-deadly force to diffuse the situation in which Mr. McIntosh was firing indiscriminately and acting with wanton disregard for human life," Graham said in a Monday letter to Lt. Stacie Rhoads of the state police.
Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley said missing a weapon during a pat-down search is unfortunate but that it happens.
Graham said agents Jonathan Stewart and Michael Blake of the Arkansas Department of Community Correction were looking for an absconder and a rape suspect in Cabot, which is about 25 miles northeast of Little Rock. The agents didn't find who they were looking for but came across McIntosh, who was a parolee.
Graham said there was a warrant for McIntosh's arrest, but that he didn't know what it was for or what agency issued it. The officers searched McIntosh and found bags of what appeared to be crystal methamphetamine.
McIntosh was handcuffed with his hands behind his back and put in the back of patrol car, Graham said. McIntosh then somehow managed to maneuver his hands in front of him and began shooting through the rear passenger glass toward the agents and Staley, prompting them to return fire.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com