Suspect arrested in shooting death of officer, dive team searching for gun

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NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) –

The Newport Police Department confirmed Tuesday morning that an arrest was made in the shooting death of Lt. Patrick Weatherford.

The name of the suspect has not officially been released by the department.

A dive team from Independence County is in Newport searching for a gun used in the shooting.

According to the Arkansas State Police, Weatherford was shot near Remmel Park Monday evening while on duty.

Weatherford was a 15-year veteran of the Newport police force and graduated from the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA, in 2016. Weatherford, 41, was also a graduate of ASU-Newport and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and was named the 2016 Jackson County Officer of the Year by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

Arkansas State Police has taken over as the lead investigative agency in this shooting.

In a tweet, Monday night, Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, said the shooting was a tragedy.

“My thoughts are with the officer’s family this evening,” Crawford tweeted. “What our fellow men and women risk to protect us every day should humble us all.”

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Weatherford is the first police officer in Northeast Arkansas to die in the line of duty since April 2011 when Trumann police officer Jonathan Schmidt was shot and killed during a traffic stop.

A year earlier, West Memphis officers Thomas William Evans and Robert Brandon Paudert were shot and killed during a traffic stop on I-40.

Region 8 News will have more information as details emerge.

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