Arkansas sheriff’s deputy killed during domestic welfare call

Posted at 4:46 PM, Jul 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-18 18:59:28-04

A sheriff’s deputy was killed Thursday while responding to a domestic welfare call, Arkansas State Police said.

Stone County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Mike Stephen, 56, responded to the call in Leslie, north of Little Rock, just after 8:30 a.m. local time, Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said at a news conference.

Stephen was killed when gunfire erupted after he arrived at the home and spoke to a woman there, Sadler said.

The suspect who opened fire on Stephen was found dead at the scene. It was not immediately clear whether the suspect, who was not been identified, was killed by authorities or took his own life.

Sadler said the public identification of the suspect is pending notification of next of kin.

The woman Stephen was speaking to was also injured in the shooting, Sadler said. She was being treated at a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Stephen was a 20-year law veteran and a US Army veteran, according to Stone County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Zach Alexander.

“There’s so much you can say about Mike Steven. You can’t sum it up,” Alexander told reporters. “He was always one to lead from the front. He pushed his guys to be better people”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson ordered the state flag to fly at half-staff in Stephen’s honor.

“Deputy Stephen’s death is a somber reminder that our law enforcement officers risk their lives every day to protect ours,” the governor said in a statement.

Stephen’s death in the line of duty is first in the department’s history, Alexander said.