Washington County, AR – An Adair County sheriff’s deputy is under investigation after he shot a man who showed up at his home and grabbed him by his neck during a physical altercation outside the deputy’s house (video below).
Adair County Sheriff Jason Ritchie has thrown his support behind his deputy in the wake of the shooting and said his actions were justified, the Tahlequah Daily Press reported.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) is handling the ongoing investigation into the incident.
The confrontation between Adair County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) Deputy Travis Adams and Justin Hellyer occurred shortly before 6 p.m. on Sept. 3, KOKI reported.
According to Sheriff Ritchie, Hellyer is the stepson of the person who owns the property where Deputy Adams and his family were residing, the Tahlequah Daily Press reported.
“Travis was at his place of residence in Washington County and Justin just showed up,” the sheriff said. “Travis was in the process of packing up his belongings to move, and his small children were inside the home.”
It is unclear why Hellyer went to the house or what led up to him and Deputy Adams getting into a heated argument, but cell phone footage showed the two men yelling at one another outside the deputy’s home.
Sheriff Ritchie said Deputy Adams had asked Hellyer to leave his house multiple times, but Hellyer refused, the Tahlequah Daily Press reported.
“Travis knows him as someone he’s dealt with as an inmate incarcerated in the Adair County Jail,” he added. “What normal person would walk outside to talk to a man who he knows him as someone he’s had to deal with as an inmate who has had multiple arrests?”
The cell phone video showed Deputy Adams holding a handgun in his right hand down by his side as he repeatedly ordered Hellyer to “get the f—k off” of his property.
“Shoot me!” Hellyer yelled back at him. “That’s what you do! Do you think that gun scares me?”
A woman could be heard in the background yelling to stop and that there were children present.
Hellyer was undeterred and told the off-duty deputy that it was his property and that he had “every right” to be there, the video showed.
Deputy Adams extended his arm and attempted to hold Hellyer back, but he continued to try to come further onto the property and began pushing the deputy.
Hellyer ultimately reached out and grabbed Deputy Adams’ neck, at which point the deputy fired two rounds, striking Hellyer in his abdomen, the video showed.
Hellyer was rushed to Washington Regional Medical Center in critical condition, according to the Tahlequah Daily Press.
Sheriff Ritchie said is confident the WCSO will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and that he has placed Deputy Adams on administrative leave while the investigation is pending.
The sheriff noted that Deputy Adams has served the ACSO as a detention officer and as a reserve deputy, the Tahlequah Daily Press reported.
He is also a member of the National Guard.
“He’s never shown any aggression and has zero writeups with our organization,” Sheriff Ritchie added.
Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder said the case will be forwarded to the Washington County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for review once it is complete, KHBS reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content and Obscene Language: