ST. FRANCIS COUNTY MAN DIES FOLLOWING ARMED STAND-OFFMay 19, 2020
Robert Wayne Lawson, 64, of Forrest City was shot last night (Monday, May 18th) by an Arkansas State Trooper following an armed stand-off that had initially begun late yesterday morning involving St. Francis County sheriff’s deputies.
The deputies arrived at 152 county road 301 after obtaining a felony arrest warrant for Lawson who had earlier made threats to harm neighbors near his home. As deputies approached the residence they were met by Lawson brandishing a rifle and threatening them.
Sheriff’s department personnel attempted to negotiate with Lawson, asking him to surrender. Late yesterday afternoon the sheriff’s department directed a request to the Arkansas State Police seeking assistance in arresting Lawson.
State police took charge of the stand-off shortly after 9 PM. As members of a state police special weapons and tactics team approached the residence, Lawson stepped outside with a pistol and rifle and warned state troopers to leave, then fired a single shot from one of the guns. A SWAT team member returned fire and Lawson retreated into the home.
State troopers subsequently placed irritant gas inside the house. Lawson later exited the residence and was shot by a trooper at approximately 11:10 PM. Lawson was pronounced dead at the scene.
Lawson’s body has been sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for determination of the manner and cause of death.
No Arkansas State Troopers were injured during the armed stand-off and gunfire.
The Arkansas State Police is conducting an investigation into the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers. The investigative file will be presented to the St. Francis County prosecuting attorney who will determine whether the use of deadly force was consistent with Arkansas laws.