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A 49-year-old man who police said opened fire at Pine Bluff police early Dec. 9 was found dead in his cell Wednesday at the Jefferson County jail.

Robert Jones was found unresponsive shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday during a "routine security check" of a single-person cell, according to a news release from the Jefferson County sheriff's office. The cause of death isn't yet known, and officials have requested that his body be sent to the state Crime Laboratory for an autopsy, the statement said.

Jones, who lived in Pine Bluff, was arrested on a charge of aggravated assault after officers were called to the intersection of 18th Avenue and Cypress Drive to investigate reports of a person with a gun.

Officer Abdias Valdez responded to the call about 4:30 a.m. and drove toward a vehicle that had an open driver-side door, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

Valdez said that as he went toward the vehicle, he heard a man on the side of his patrol vehicle say "f--- you," followed by three gunshots, according to the affidavit.

Police said the officer drove away and waited for more officers. Valdez then returned to find three shell casings in front of 56 Cypress Drive, court documents said.

The officer's police car was hit twice by the gunfire but the officer was not injured, according to a news release from the Pine Bluff Police Department. The statement said Jones fled the area, only to be spotted by another officer about one block away.

The affidavit said officer Julie Hilliard, who was searching the area for an armed man, found Jones with a handgun in front of 1721 W. Circle Drive.

He was standing on the porch and yelled at Hilliard "something about 'Motha F------ Homeboy,'" according to the documents.

Hilliard reported that Jones was raising and lowering his gun and that she backed up her patrol car and waited for other officers. Police say Jones ran into the unoccupied side of the residence with a gun in hand.

The affidavit said that while waiting for a SWAT team to arrive, Jones shot out of a window on the side of the residence and fired in the direction of an officer, a sergeant and a captain.

Pine Bluff detective Lee Freeman, a member of the agency's SWAT team, said he was deployed to cover doors on the north and east side of the residence, according to the court documents.

"He stated he took a sniper position and while he observed the residence, he heard a gunshot and a bullet 'whistle' by his head," according to the affidavit. Freeman also reported that he was in the open when the gunfire occurred.

Jones surrendered after the SWAT team deployed tear gas into the residence. Authorities said they recovered a gun and a drug believed to be K2, which is also known as synthetic marijuana.

Maj. Lafayette Woods Jr. with the Jefferson County sheriff's office said in an interview Friday that Jones was belligerent and could not be controlled when he arrived at the county jail. Woods also said Jones appeared to be on some type of substance.

The affidavit noted that after multiple attempts to interview Jones, staff at the jail said it was unsafe because of his "erratic" and "unusual" behaviour.

Information for this article was contributed by Jillian Kremer of Arkansas Online.

Metro on 12/16/2017

Print Headline: PB man held in shooting dies in jail; Suspect deemed erratic at lockup

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