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Texarkana shooting probed

Off-duty lawman shot suspect in confrontation, police say by Lynn LaRowe | October 21, 2021 at 3:11 a.m.
A file photo of an Arkansas State Police patrol unit. - File photo by The Sentinel-Record

TEXARKANA — An off-duty Texarkana police officer borrowed a restaurant patron’s firearm to shoot an armed man alleged to have been breaking into a vehicle and threatening another man last week at the downtown restaurant, according to records.

Jayden Jamer Sledge, 20, was observed breaking into a white Yukon parked in a lot south of Hopkins Icehouse about 7:15 p.m. Oct. 13, according to a probable cause affidavit prepared by Arkansas State Police Special Agent John Rhone.

Sledge pointed a 9mm handgun and threatened to kill the husband of the Yukon’s owner when confronted inside the SUV, the affidavit said.

A woman sitting on the outdoor patio of Hopkins alerted an off-duty Texarkana officer who was celebrating a family member’s birthday inside the establishment. That officer and a second off-duty officer gave chase as Sledge ran into Zapata’s Grill and Mexican Cantina across East Third Street from Hopkins, the affidavit said.

When approached, Sledge pulled a firearm and pointed it at the unarmed officer inside Zapata’s, authorities said. When the officer backed away, Sledge ran to the back storage area of the eatery, they said.

The officer borrowed a 9mm handgun from a Zapata’s patron and proceeded to the back of the restaurant, the affidavit said.

“Sledge was attempting to climb up a ladder and was approached again,” the affidavit states.

Sledge pointed his gun at the officer a second time, prompting the officer to shoot Sledge in the arm with the patron’s pistol, the affidavit said, adding Sledge fell from the ladder and was taken into custody by the off-duty officers. Sledge’s injury is not considered life-threatening.

Arkansas State Police assumed the investigation at the request of the Texarkana Police Department. While conducting a crime scene search of the storage area where Sledge was shot, agents found a set of car keys to a Kia Sorento that had been reported stolen earlier in the day from a parking lot outside Central Mall in Texarkana, Texas.

“On Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, Sledge was fired from Zapata’s. Sledge told another employee that he was coming back to shoot the place up,” the affidavit states.

Sledge made an initial court appearance Friday before Miller County District Judge Tommy Potter. Records show Sledge refused to sign paperwork Friday acknowledging his court appearance.

Sledge has been charged with breaking or entering, three counts of aggravated assault, terroristic threatening and theft by receiving.

Potter set Sledge’s bail at $250,000 on a recommendation from the Miller County prosecuting attorney’s office. He is currently being held in the Miller County jail.

Arkansas State Police are investigating. The Miller County prosecuting attorney’s office will review the findings to determine whether the officer was justified in the shooting.

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