- Associated Press - Saturday, October 29, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Two central Arkansas police departments investigating three fatal shootings by officers this month have withheld some information, including the name of the officer involved in one case and the type of weapon carried by the man shot in another case.

On Tuesday, Little Rock officer Dennis Hutchins fatally shot Roy Richards, 46, after Richards pointed a “long gun” at another man and Hutchins feared the man would be shot, police said.

A photo of the gun has been released, but police have not said what type of weapon it is.

Police have released 911 calls that preceded the shooting, but have declined to release audio and video recordings from Hutchins’ patrol car.

“If you give too much information to the public, someone can claim to be a witness because they have an abundance of information that’s been publicly known, rather than be able to question and challenge them on things,” Police Chief Kenton Buckner told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/2eGJQdY).

On Oct. 7, Benton police have said, an officer fatally shot 49-year-old Thomas Burns after Burns used a handgun to threaten the officer.

Police say the officer has been threatened and Police Chief Kirk Lane has said he will not name the officer until he believes it’s safe, or a judge orders him to do so.

The third shooting was Oct. 17 and also involved a Benton officer.

Officials say officer Kyle Ellison fatally shot Keagan Schweikle, 17, when the teenager pointed a gun at officers. They had followed him into a wooded area near his home after the boy’s mother reported he was suicidal and armed with a .40-caliber pistol.

Benton police said in a written statement that Lane decided to release Ellison’s identity “based upon confirmation of evidence received from the Arkansas State Crime Lab.” The statement did not provide additional details.

Schweikle’s parents, Piper Partridge and Dominic Schweikle, told reporters Friday they want a thorough and fair investigation.

Dominic Schweikle said police appeared eager to confront his son, though he said patience and communication might have resolved the situation peacefully.

“He was no danger to anyone but himself … We want to know why he was engaged,” Schweikle said. “Why didn’t the police department explore other avenues? Setting up a perimeter? Immediately calling a crisis intervention officer to come speak?”

Each of the three officers has been placed on paid leave pending investigations into the shootings.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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