LITTLE ROCK The vice chairman of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission was arrested he purportedly fired a handgun into the ground while drunk, authorities said Wednesday.
Rick Watkins was arrested Tuesday evening on two misdemeanor charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct after someone called 911 to report a man wielding a gun banging on the windows of the caller’s home, according to a report from the Lonoke County sheriff’s office.
Sheriff John Staley said Watkins fired a pistol but was not shooting at anyone.
“He was very cooperative with us when we arrived on scene,” Staley said. “He didn’t threaten anybody or anything like that.”
Watkins, 54, of Little Rock did not immediately respond to a phone message or e-mail Wednesday.
When authorities arrived on scene near Lonoke, they arrested Watkins, who smelled of alcohol, Sgt. Brandon Hampton wrote in the report.
“He had blood shot watery eyes and he was unsteady on his feet,” Hampton wrote.
Watkins was taken to the local jail and later released, the sheriff said.
“This is a very serious matter,” commission spokesman Keith Stephens said in an e-mail. “There is a legal process involved and before making any further statements, we will wait to see how this situation unfolds.”
Stephens said he doesn’t know whether Watkins has a lawyer.
The Game and Fish Commission, which oversees the agency’s function as a wildlife management organization, is made up of seven Arkansans appointed by the governor to seven-year terms.
Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe appointed Watkins to the commission in 2007.
“From what I know, it’s pretty serious for a Game and Fish commissioner, specifically, because of the allegations that I’ve heard,” Beebe told reporters Wednesday. “But this is still America, so you withhold final judgment until the process runs.”