West Memphis, Arkansas, police were shot and killed on Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 11:40 a.m. local time. Two separate shootings allegedly by the same suspects killed two officers and wounded two others. The suspects used an assault weapon and were also fatally shot.
City Hall Inspector Bert Shelton, representing the West Memphis Police Department, issued a statement that the officers were making a routine traffic stop, having pulled over a white Dodge caravan with an orange roof. The caravan was traveling along I-40 at the Airport Road Exit when an occupant/s shot two police officers and fled the scene. One of the officers, thirty nine year old Brandon Paudert, son of the city's Chief of Police Bob Paudert, died at the scene. Officer Bill Evans was working with Paudert as part of a drug interdiction team at the time of the shooting. Evans was wounded and transported to a local hospital where he later died as a result of his injuries. Immediately following the initial shooting, in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart, two deputies were shot and wounded as they approached the van involved in the first shooting incident. Officers returned fire immediately and fatally shot the suspects.
As a result of the shootings, officials have shutdown eastbound lanes of I-40 and I-55. Arkansas State police and local police are leading the investigation into the details of this tragedy.