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story.lead_photo.caption Charles Eugene Ferris (left) and Christopher Hicks

BENTONVILLE -- Two men pleaded innocent Monday to shooting at each other while wearing a bullet-resistant vest.

Charles Eugene Ferris, 50, and Christopher Hicks, 36, entered the pleas at their arraignments in front of Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren. They are each charged with aggravated assault.

Ferris is accused of purposely engaging in conduct that created a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to Hicks. Ferris shot Hicks with a .22-caliber rifle while Hicks was wearing the vest, according to court documents. Ferris' actions showed extreme indifference to the value of human life, the documents say.

Hicks is accused of purposely engaging in conduct creating a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to Ferris by discharging a firearm. Court documents also say he acted under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.

Benton County sheriff's deputies began investigating the case after receiving information about a man being shot multiple times while wearing a bullet-resistant vest, according to a probable cause affidavit.

A sheriff's deputy interviewed Ferris on March 31 at Mercy Hospital in Rogers, according to the affidavit. Ferris told the deputy that he was shot six times, once in the chest and five times in the back, while protecting a man he called his "asset," the affidavit said.

Ferris' wife, Leslie, contradicted his story, according to the affidavit. She said her husband was on the deck of their house at 21412 Deer Run Lane in Rogers. She said Ferris was drinking with Hicks, their neighbor, when she heard a gunshot, the affidavit said.

She went outside and saw that her husband had a mark on his chest, according to the affidavit. He later complained about the injury, and she told him to go to the hospital, according to the affidavit.

Ferris admitted he made up the story about protecting someone because he didn't want to get Hicks in trouble, the affidavit said.

Ferris said he and Hicks were on the deck drinking, according to the affidavit. Ferris was wearing a bullet-resistant vest and told Hicks to shoot him, it said.

Hicks shot Ferris one time, the affidavit said, and the bullet hit the top left corner of Ferris' chest. Ferris said it hurt, according to the affidavit.

Hicks then put on the vest, authorities said. Ferris said he was angry about getting shot, and he "unloaded the clip" with the remaining five rounds into Hicks' back, according to the affidavit. None of the rounds penetrated the vest, the affidavit said.

Deputies seized the rifle and vest, according to the affidavit.

Ferris and Hicks were released on citation after their arrests.

Metro on 05/14/2019

Print Headline: Two Arkansas men accused of shooting at each other while wearing bullet-resistant vest plead innocent

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