Both a Pine Bluff police officer and a civilian who were involved in a shooting incident on June 24 will not be charged with a crime, according to Prosecuting Attorney S. Kyle Hunter.
In a letter to Pine Bluff Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant last week, Hunter said the actions of both Officer Jeremy Crosby and the civilian, Baker Jernigan, were justified. Hunter made the decision after reviewing the results of a state police investigation.
In the letter, Hunter said that prior to the incident between Crosby and Jernigan, the occupants of two vehicles were shooting at each other in the parking lot of a convenience store at 34th Avenue and Old Warren Road. That parking lot is across the street from Jernigan’s business and home.
The occupants in a blue car who were involved in the shooting abandoned the car near Jernigan’s business, fled on foot and continued to fire their weapons.
Jernigan had his weapon out to protect his family, who was outside when the shooting started. When Officer Crosby arrived, he was in an unmarked truck and wearing plain clothes.
“Based on the statements of witnesses and the totality of the circumstances, I believe Crosby and Jernigan were reasonable in thinking the other was associated with the criminal activity that had just occurred,” Hunter said in the letter. “Jernigan pointed his gun at Crosby, and Crosby fired a shot at Jernigan but did not hit him.”
Hunter went on to say the problem between Crosby and Jernigan was that Jernigan did not initially know that Crosby was a police officer. When he realized that, he put his gun down.
“The confusion could have resulted in Jernigan or Crosby being injured or killed, and it might have been eliminated if Crosby had arrived at the scene with his blue lights and siren engaged. But that is a policy decision for your consideration,” Hunter said in the letter. “I’m thankful these two men were not hurt.”