A shooting in Pine Bluff Tuesday night resulted in injuries to one man and was followed by a police chase of the suspects’ vehicle, which wrecked at the corner of West 27th Avenue and Olive Street after hitting a utility pole and almost crashing into Popeye’s Chicken.
According to a press release from Pine Bluff Police Lt. David De Foor, the shooting victim received a non-life threatening injury and was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center.
At a Wednesday meeting of the Pine Bluff City Council’s Public Safety Committee, Police Chief Ivan Whitfield said he talked to the victim, later identified as Demonta Rouse, 19, who was treated and released. Rouse received a gunshot wound to the shoulder that exited his back, Whitfield said.
According to a police report, Rouse said he had been to Church’s Chicken at 16th Avenue and Cherry Street at around 7:30 p.m. and left his vehicle, a 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, running while he went inside. He said he looked out and saw two males get out of the back of a white GMC Envoy, go to the driver’s and passenger’s side doors of his car and pull on the handles. Rouse said when he confronted the men, they jumped in the Envoy and left the scene in an unknown direction.
Rouse said when he left Church’s, he traveled south and crossed to Elm Street; while traveling south on Elm, he saw the white Envoy traveling west on 24th Avenue from Poplar Street. He said the Envoy got behind him when they reached the intersection of 26th Avenue and Elm Street, and the occupants of the Envoy started shooting at his vehicle.
Rouse said he leaned down as the shots continued and heard about 20 rounds before he was hit. He said he drove to his residence and a relative took him to the hospital.
During the committee meeting, Whitfield said an officer who was at the central station heard the shots and reported them. That officer, Sgt. Jeremy Brown, said a few minutes later that Detective Temmiothy Johnson reported on the radio that a vehicle had been shot up in the area of 26th Avenue and Elm Street.
He said the suspect vehicle was traveling east on 20th Avenue. Brown said he and Lt. Sam Atkinson got in their vehicles and drove to the area, where they saw the suspect vehicle stop briefly in the area of West 15th Avenue and Spruce Street. They said two males jumped out and ran.
By that time, other officers had joined in the chase, and Brown and Atkinson began searching the area on foot. Brown arrested one of them, Deangelo Connor, 20, and found a small bag of suspected marijuana and a digital scale in his right pocket. While walking the area, Brown and Atkinson found a black nine-millimeter handgun with a bullet lodged in the chamber in the area where the two suspects had jumped out.
Officer Donald Griffin, who was involved in the pursuit, said in a report that he initially saw the Envoy in the area of Ninth Avenue and Cypress Street and chased it through central Pine Bluff at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour before the vehicle reached the intersection of 46th Avenue and Cherry Street.
It then turned back east on 46th Avenue to Olive Street, then headed north on Olive Street at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.
Patrol Lt. Billy Dixon notified the police units chasing the Envoy that he was going to place stop sticks at 28th Avenue and Olive Street, and as the Envoy reached that intersection, the driver tried to avoid them and made a sharp left turn, striking the curb and causing the Envoy to fly through the air and hit a utility pole before rolling toward Popeye’s.
Griffin reported that as the vehicle came to a stop, he and Officer Veranita Burns ran up to it. Griffin handcuffed one of the suspects who had been ejected from the vehicle, and he and Detective Michael Battles pulled the other suspect out of the vehicle through the back window and handcuffed him.
The two men in the car were identified as Joseph Reeves, 19, and Jimmy Henderson, 18, who were both taken to the hospital for treatment. Henderson was treated and released, while Whitfield said Reeves was sent to a Little Rock hospital, where he was in critical condition.
“Three of the four suspects were arrested and we know who the fourth one is,” Whitfield said. “If one of them had died, the others could be charged with homicide. Our officers did well. We didn’t have to shoot at anybody and none of our officers or innocent civilians was hurt in the pursuit.”
Both Henderson and Connor are being held at the adult detention center on probable cause of first-degree battery and terroristic act pending an appearance in district court.