A $500,000 bond was set Monday for a Pine Bluff man who fired shots at police officers in the early morning hours Saturday, then barricaded himself in an empty house until he was forced out by tear gas. Pine Bluff District Judge John Kearney set the bond after ruling prosecutors have probable cause to charge Robert Levern Jones, 49, with criminal attempt capital murder and aggravated assault on a police officer.
The court hearing was held without Jones’ presence because jail personnel said he refused to get dressed and was seen placing his head in the toilet.
On Saturday, the PBPD SWAT team fired several canisters of tear gas into a house at 1721 W. Circle Drive, and Jones came out without further incident, Pine Bluff Police Department Detective Keith Banks said in a probable cause affidavit presented in district court Monday.
According to the affidavit, at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday, PBPD Officer Abdian Valdez responded to a report of a suspicious male with a gun in the area of Cypress Drive. When he arrived in the area, Valdez saw a vehicle with the driver’s door open, and as he drove toward the vehicle, heard a male voice on the right side of his patrol unit say “(expletive) you,” followed by three gunshots.
Valdez drove away from the immediate danger and waited for other officers, then went back and found three shell casings in front of No. 56 Cypress Drive. Banks reported that Valdez was not injured, but officers later discovered that the patrol car he was driving had two bullet holes in it.
While searching the immediate area for a man with a gun, PBPD Officer Julie Hilliard saw a man holding a handgun in front of 1721 W. Circle Drive. The man, later identified as Jones, stood on the porch yelling at Hilliard, “something about (M….R F…..G Homeboy,” while raising and lowering the gun.
Hilliard backed her patrol car to a safer distance to wait on other officers and saw Jones go in the house and not come out.
After other officers arrived, they set up a perimeter around the house, and while waiting on SWAT to arrive, Jones shot out of the window on the north side of the residence in the direction of PBPD Officer Porsha Williams, Sgt. Jacqueline Stevenson and Capt. Terry Hopson.
PBPD Detective Lee Freeman, a member of the SWAT team, said he was deployed at a nearby residence covering the entry/exit doors on the east and north side of the residence, and while he watched the house, he heard a gunshot and a bullet “whistled” by his head. Freeman said he was in the open when the shot was fired.
On Saturday, police said houses in the surrounding area were evacuated while the incident took place, but after Jones was taken into custody, the residents were allowed to return home. Banks reported that after Jones was taken into custody, police entered the house and found the gun and a drug believed to be K-2. The owner of the residence said it had been locked and no one was supposed to be inside. When police checked, they found there was damage to the door frame as if someone forced their way in. The residence was empty and no one lived there.
Jones was taken to the adult detention center; while there, he said he was “not going to continue running.” He said he “laid down in the wood for about three hours.” He also reportedly said he “usually has his vest and gas mask.”
Jones was not interviewed due to his erratic behavior, Banks said.