Fort Smith officer fires weapon in knife attack, three dead; Arkansas State Police investigate, officer stabbed but will survive

Joplin News First

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Fort Smith Police Chief Danny Baker releases a statement late Sunday afternoon regarding an officer involved shooting where one of his officers was attacked with a knife and a subject, “produced an edged weapon slicing the officers throat and neck.” The officer then shot and killed the man now identified as 40-year-old Christopher Conner of Fort Smith.

According to Fort Smith Police Dept, the attack happened around 6:20 a.m. Sunday in the 2800 block of Tilles Avenue in Fort Smith.

The officer has not been identified. He was rushed into emergency surgery and is expected to survive.

The deceased male, Conner, was standing over a 15-year-old juvenile, beating him with a rock, according to Chief Baker and the officer had told Conner to stop. Initially he complied but then produced a knife, attacking the officer.

The juvenile later was identified as Conner’s son. He died of blunt force trauma and stab wounds at an area hospital. Also inside the residence a female was found deceased of stab wounds, 42-year-old, Julia Marie Moore. A 5-year-old was found unharmed in the residence.

Chief Baker did not take questions from the media. He merely read a statement. We have transcribed it and provided it in full below.

Additionally the injured Fort Smith Police officer has been placed on leave as per police procedure during the shooting investigation. There has not been a statement from the Arkansas State Police.

Chief Danny Baker of the Fort Smith Police Department provides a statement Sunday on what occurred in the 2800 block of Tilles Ave.
“Approximately 6:20 a.m. Sunday the Fort Smith police department received a 911 call reporting an active disturbance in the residential area of Tilles Ave. and Lecta Ave. According to the caller the person heard yelling and screaming. Came outside to see a white male with no shirt assaulting a person on the ground at the corner of the intersection. Officers were immediately dispatched to a disturbance fight with weapons. A 16-month officer with the Fort Smith Police Department was the first to arrive on scene and announced his arrival within 2 minutes and 15 seconds of being dispatched. In just under a minute this officer reported that he had been stabbed in the neck and shots were fired. As more officers arrived the injured officer was rushed to a local hospital with serious lacerations to his throat and neck. The officer underwent emergency surgery and is currently stable and recovering at an undisclosed location.
This is what we know and can release at this time. Upon his arrival our officer encountered 40-year-old Christopher Conner of Fort Smith beating a 15-year-old male child in the face and head with a rock. The officer ordered Mr. Conner to stop. Conner initially appeared to comply. The officer approached Conner to place him in restraints and Conner produced an edged weapon slicing the officers throat and neck the officer fired two shots from his service weapon striking Conner killing him and ending the threat. The 15-year-old male was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The child had sustained multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma. The child has been identified as Conner’s son.
Shortly after the encounter with Mr. Conner officers discovered another victim inside 2819 Tilles and evidence of an extremely violent attack inside the home 42-year-old Julia Marie Moore was found deceased from apparent stab wounds. A 5-year-old child was also located in the home and removed to safety. This child is currently in care of the family. I have no doubt that our officers swift actions saved this young child’s life.
Because this horrific incident involved an officer firing their weapon at a person I have requested the Arkansas State Police to take lead in the investigation as dictated by our policies and procedures in these types of incidents. The officer who shot Mr. Conner will be placed on paid administrative leave for a minimum of three days and as long as is necessary to insure a proper investigation as well as the health and well being of the officer. A second officer who will remain unnamed has been placed on leave pending post critical incident treatment and was not involved in the shooting.
As the Arkansas State Police works to conclude their investigation I know there will be many questions in the coming days. Fort Smith is a great community. And when unimaginable tragedies like this happen we are all left scared, angry, frustrated, sometimes hopeless. No one believes in the sanctity of life more than the men and women of the Fort Smith Police Department. Each one of us are sworn to protect it at all costs so it hurts us as much as it does each of you when an outcome like this is unavoidable.
I’m thankful. I’m thankful for officers like this who are willing to put their lives on the line when evil threatens our community. I’m thankful for the medical team who took care of our officer. And I’m thankful for a community that always pulls together when tragedy strikes. My heart goes out to all those who have been impacted by this terrible event. Please pray for all of us. Thank you and good evening.”

2800 block Tilles Ave, Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Arkansas Attorney General Lesley Rutledge states, “Please join me in prayer for the Fort Smith Officer who was injured in the line of duty this morning. We are grateful for our men and woman in blue who hold the line for all Arkansans.”

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