Fayetteville, AR – Fayetteville Police Department (FPD) Officer Stephen Carr was assassinated behind the police department as he was waiting for his partner inside their patrol vehicle on Saturday night.
Officer Carr, 27, was sitting in his patrol vehicle when a gunman “ambushed and executed” him at approximately 9:42 p.m., the FPD said in a press release on Sunday morning.
Officers inside the station heard the gunfire and immediately responded to the area as additional gunshots rang out.
The gunman, later identified as 35-year-old London Phillips, was still behind the police station when officers spotted him and returned fire, according to the release.
Phillips was hit multiple times, and died at the scene, KFSM reported.
“The whole situation lasted less than 30 seconds,” Fayetteville Police Chief Mike Reynolds told reporters on Sunday morning.
Directly after the altercation with Phillips, Officer Carr’s fellow officers located him inside his patrol car, suffering from a single gunshot wound to the head.
“Officers immediately rendered aid to both the officer and suspect,” the FPD said.
Fayetteville Fire Department and Central EMS personnel arrived at the scene within three minutes, but Officer Carr also succumbed to his wounds at the scene.
“It appears the suspect came into the back parking lot and just executed my officer,” Chief Reynolds said, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.
Additional officers suffered scrapes and bruises during the incident, and one officer suffered a broken hand, the chief said on Sunday.
Phillips was found in possession of a 9mm Taurus handgun, as well as two boxes of ammunition.
He was also reported for impersonating a police officer in December of 2018, according to Chief Reynolds.
The officers who returned fire have been placed on administrative leave, as per protocol.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office will handle the investigation into the incident.
Chief Reynolds said that investigators do not believe that Phillips targeted Officer Carr in specific, but that he did set out to murder a law enforcement officer.
“All I know is that this was a cowardly act,” the chief told reporters on Sunday. “He was looking for an officer to kill…and if it wasn’t for the response of our officers that engaged and killed the suspect – yes, I do believe that he would have hurt more people.”
Chief Reynolds said that Phillips executed Officer Carr at point-blank range “in cold blood,” and that the murder was captured by surveillance cameras.
Officer Carr joined the FPD in April of 2017, and was assigned to the entertainment district.
“He served our community with dedication and professionalism for the past 2 ½ years,” the HPD said. “He is a HERO…Our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Carr’s family during this tragic time.”
During a press conference on Sunday morning, Chief Reynolds said that Officer Carr’s assassination marked the “worst day in the history of the Fayetteville Police Department.”
Officer Carr was an “all-American boy” who came from a law enforcement family, and “he just wanted to serve his community,” Chief Reynolds added.
“Officers are being targeted every day throughout our country. It’s something I didn’t have to deal with 26 years ago when I started this job, but its something that’s reality now,” the chief said. “God bless his family, and God bless the men and women of the Fayetteville Police Department.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Fayetteville Police Department Officer Stephen Carr, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Stephen Carr, your life mattered.