West Memphis, AR – Police have arrested two men in connection with the murder of off-duty Forrest City Police Officer Oliver Johnson Jr.
Officer Johnson, 25, was shot and killed inside his apartment on April 28, after he was struck in the upper torso by a bullet fired outside during a gang dispute.
The officer wasn’t the intended target, but his apartment was the the shooter’s backstop.
The fallen officer left behind two young daughters who were with him at the time.
Police apprehended Demarcus Parker, 25, at his residence in Marion, Arkansas, on Wednesday, WMC reported.
“Mr. Parker has been one of those chronically that is just chronically… in and around numerous shootings in West Memphis, active involvement in gang activity,” West Memphis Police Department Captain Joe Baker told WMC.
The suspected shooter, 22-year-old George Henderson, was arrested near downtown Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday.
Investigators believed that Parker drove the vehicle that Henderson was riding in when a feud broke out between them and rival gang members.
It’s during that gunfight that one the bullets fired by Henderson struck Officer Johnson.
“They were definitely in the persons of interest list from the get-go,” Capt. Baker told WATN. “Lots of man hours in this case, running down hundreds of leads. It’s been a busy couple of days.”
He said that Officer Johnson was “well-liked” by the West Memphis community, and that many people came forward to help with the investigation.
“There were lots of people who came forward, provided information, just thought this crime was really atrocious and wanted to help any way they could,” Capt. Barker said. “This man was an absolutely just a true victim… He was a police officer… but what I think speaks more loudly to him as a person was everyone we talked to [said that he was a] ‘great father, working hard to better himself.’”
Officer Johnson had been offered a position with the West Memphis Police Department just one week before his death, and was looking forward to the next chapter of his life, Forrest City Police Lieutenant Eric Varner told WATN.
“He always talked about going back to West Memphis. That’s where his heart was at,” Lt. Varner added.
Officer Johnson will be laid to rest on Saturday.
Parker and Henderson have been charged with over 20 offenses each, to include capital murder, discharging a firearm from a vehicle, and attempted capital murder.
They have been scheduled to appear before the court next week.