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JONESBORO -- A Jonesboro police officer was justified in shooting a man who threatened him with a shotgun during a Sept. 26 disturbance, Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington said in a letter released Tuesday.

Jonesboro patrolman Brian Arnold injured Clifton Puckett after responding to a call about a disturbance at his home on Turner Street south of the Jonesboro downtown area.

In a letter to Lt. Brant Tosh, the commander of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Arkansas State Police's Jonesboro troop, Ellington said Arnold received the call at 5:25 p.m. Sept. 26.

Arnold entered the house and found Puckett struggling over a shotgun with his wife, Ellington wrote in the letter. Arnold told Puckett to drop the weapon "no less than 12 times," Ellington said.

Puckett's wife was recorded on Arnold's body camera saying,"Please don't shoot the officer." Puckett responded, according to Ellington, "He's going to die."

Puckett made a lunge to his right and Arnold shot once at Puckett, striking him, the letter said.

Puckett was being treated at a Little Rock hospital and was listed in stable condition there Tuesday, an intake officer at the Craighead County jail said. Arnold was not injured.

In his letter to Tosh, Ellington wrote that Arnold was "justified in the use of deadly force against Puckett out of self-defense, as well as the defense of others.

"If Puckett had obeyed the lawful commands of Officer Arnold and shown his hands when instructed to do so, he would not have been shot."

Ellington said he closed the investigation and that no further action would be taken.

Craighead County District Judge Keith Blackman found probable cause to charge Puckett with aggravated assault on a family or household member, aggravated assault, first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor and possession of a firearm by certain persons, said Paul Holmes, a spokesman for the Jonesboro Police Department.

Once Puckett is released from the hospital, he will face the charges, he said.

State Desk on 10/15/2015

Print Headline: Prosecutor: Officer had reason to shoot

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